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MY OLD MAN 1 70 




































THERE is not much to say about these stories. The first four 
are the last ones I have written. The others follow in the 
order in which they were originally published. 

The first one I wrote was 'Up in Michigan', written in 
Paris in 1921. The last was 'Old Man at the Bridge', cabled 
from Barcelona in April of 1938. 

I wrote The Killers', 'To-day Is Friday', Ten Indians", 
part of 'Fiesta', and the first third of 'To Have and Have Not' 
in Madrid. It was always a good place for working. So was 
Paris, and so were Key West, Florida, in the cool months; the 
ranch, near Cooke City, Montana; Kansas City; Chicago; 
Toronto, and Havana, Cuba. 

Some other places were not so good, but maybe we were 
not so good when we were in them. 

There are many kinds of stories in this book. I hope that 
you will find some that you like. Reading them over, the ones 
I liked the best, outside of those that have achieved some 
notoriety so that school teachers include them in story col- 
lections that their pupils have to buy in story courses, and 
you are always faintly embarrassed to read them and wonder 
whether you really wrote them or did you maybe hear them, 
somewhere, are 'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber', 
'In Another Country 5 , 'Hills Like White Elephants', 'A Way 
You'll Never Be', 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro', 'A Clean, 
Well-Lighted Place', and a story called 'The Light of the 
World', which nobody else ever liked. There are some others 
too. Because if you did not like them you would not publish 

In going where you have to go, and doing what you have 
to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt 
the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it 
bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone 
again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, 
and know that I had something to write about, than to have 


it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well 
oiled in the closet, but unused. < 

Now it is necessary to get to the grindstone again. I wQuld 
like to live long enough to write three more novels and 
twenty-five more stories. I know some pretty good ones. 



IT was now lunch time and they were all sitting under the 
double green fly of the dining tent pretending thit nothing 
had happened. 

'Will you have lime juice or lemon squash? 5 Macomber 

Til have a gimlet/ Robert Wilson told him. 

Til have a gimlet too. I need something,' Macomber's 
wife said. 

'I suppose it's the thing to do/ Macomber agreed. 'Tell 
him to make three gimlets.' 

The mess boy had started them already, lifting the bottles 
out of the canvas cooling bags that sweated wet in the wind 
that blew through the trees that shaded the tents. 

'What had I ought to give them?' Macomber asked. 

'A quid would be plenty/ Wilson told him. 'You don't 
want to spoil them.' 

'Will the headman distribute it?' 


Francis Macomber had, half an hour before, been carried 
to his tent from the edge of the camp in triumph on the arms 
and shoulders of the cook, the personal boys, the skinner and 
the porters. The gun-bearers had taken no part in the 
demonstration. When the native boys put him down at the 
door of his tent, he had shaken all their hands, received their 
congratulations, and then gone into the tent and sat on the 
bed until his wife came in. She did not speak to him when 
she came in and he left the tent at once to wash his face and 
hands in the portable wash basin outside and go over to the 
dining tent to sit in a comfortable canvas chair in the breeze 
and the shade. 

Mrs. Macomber looked at Wilson quickly. She was an 
extremely handsome and well-kept woman of the beauty and 
social position which had, five years before, commanded five 


thousand dollars as the price of endorsing, with photographs, 
a beauty product which she had never used. She had been 
married to Francis Macomber for eleven years. 

'He is a good lion, isn't he?' Macomber said. His wife 
looked at him now. She looked at both these men as though 
she had never seen them before. 

One, Wilson, the white hunter, she knew she had never 
truly seen before. He was about middle height with sandy 
hair, a stubby moustache, a very red face and extremely cold 
blue eyes with faint white wrinkles at the corners that grooved 
merrily when he smiled. He smiled at her now and she 
looked away from his face at the way his shoulders sloped in 
the loose tunic he wore with the four big cartridges held in 
loops where the left breast pocket should have been, at his 
big brown hands, his old slacks, his very dirty boots, and back 
to his red face again. She noticed where the baked red of his 
face stopped in a white line that marked the circle left by his 
Stetson hat that hung now from one of the pegs of the tent pole. 

'Well, here's to the lion, 5 Robert Wilson said. He smiled at 
her again and, not smiling, she looked curiously at her 

Francis Macomber was very tall, very well built if you did 
not mind that length of bone, dark, his hair cropped like an 
oarsman, rather thin-lipped, and was considered handsome. 
He was dressed in the same sort of safari clothes that Wilson 
wore except that his were new, he was thirty-five years old, 
kept himself very fit, was good at court games, had a number 
of big- game fishing records, and had just shown himself, very 
publicly, to be a coward. 

'Here's to the lion,' he said. 'I can't ever thank you for 
what you did.' 

Margaret, his wife, looked away from him and back to 

'Let's not talk about the lion, 5 she said. 

Wilson looked over at her without smiling and now she 
smiled at him. 


'It's been a very strange day/ she said. 'Hadn't you ought 
to put your hat on even under the canvas at noon? You told 
me that, you know.' 

'Might put it on,' said Wilson. 

'You know you have a very red face, Mr. Wilson,' she told 
him and smiled again. 

'Drink/ said Wilson. 

'I don't think so/ she said. 'Francis drinks a great deal, but 
his face is never red. 3 

'It's red to-day/ Macomber tried a joke. 

'No/ said Margaret. 'It's mine that's red to-day. But Mr. 
Wilson's is always red.' 

'Must be racial/ said Wilson. 'I say, you wouldn't like to 
drop my beauty as a topic, would you?' 

'I've just started on it.' 

'Let's chuck it/ said Wilson. 

'Conversation is going to be so difficult/ Margaret said. 

'Don't bo silly, Margot/ her husband said. 

'No difficulty/ Wilson said. 'Got a damn fine lion.' 

Margot looked at them both and they both saw that she 
was going to cry. Wilson had seen it coming for a long time 
and he dreaded it. Macomber was past dreading it. 

'I wish it hadn't happened. Oh, I wish it hadn't happened/ 
she said and started for her tent. She made no noise of crying 
but they could see that her shoulders were shaking under the 
rose-coloured, sun-proofed shirt she wore. 

'Women upset/ said Wilson to the tall man. 'Amounts to 
nothing. Strain on the nerves and one thing' n another.' 

'No/ said Macomber. 'I suppose that I rate that for the 
rest of my life now.' 

'Nonsense. Let's have a spot of the giant killer/ said Wilson. 
'Forget the whole thing. Nothing to it anyway.' 

'We might try/ said Macomber. 'I won't forget what you 
did for me though.' 

'Nothing/ said Wilson. 'All nonsense.' 

So they sat there in the shade where the camp was pitched 


under some wide-topped acacia trees with a boulder-strewn 
cliff behind them, and a stretch of grass that ran to the bank 
of a boulder-filled stream in front with forest beyond it, and 
drank their just-cool lime drinks and avoided one another's 
eyes while the boys set the table for lunch. Wilson could 
tell that the boys all knew about it now and When he saw 
Macomber's personal boy looking curiously at his master 
while he was putting dishes on the table he snapped at him 
in Swahili. The boy turned away with his face blank. 

'What were you telling him?' Macomber asked. 

'Nothing. Told him to look alive or I'd see he got about 
fifteen of the best.' 

'What's that? Lashes?' 

'It's quite illegal,' Wilson said. 'You're supposed to fine 

'Do you still have them whipped?' 

'Oh, yes. They could raise a row if they chose to complain. 
But they don't. They prefer it to the fines.' 

'How strange!' said Macomber. 

'Not strange, really,' Wilson said. 'Which would you 
rather do? Take a good birching or lose your pay?' 

Then he felt embarrassed at asking it and before 
Macomber could answer he went on, 'We all take a beating 
eVery day, you know, one way or another.' 

This was no better. 'Good God,' he thought. 'I am a 
diplomat, aren't I?' 

'Yes, we take a beating,' said Macomber, still not looking 
at hini. I'm awfully sorry about that lion business. It 
doesn't have to go any further, does it? I mean no one will 
hear about it, will they?' 

'You mean will I tell it at the Mathaiga Club?' Wilson 
looked at him now coldly. He had not expected this. So he's 
a bloody four-letter man as well as a bloody coward, he 
thought. I rather liked him too until to-day. But how is one 
to know about an American? 

'No, 5 said Wilson. 'I'm a professional hunter. We never talk 


about our clients. You can be quite easy on that. It's 
supposed to be bad form to ask us not to talk though.' 

tL had decided now that to break would be much easier. 
He would eat, then, by himself and could read a book v/ith 
his meals. They would eat by themselves. He would see 
them through the safari on a very formal basis what was it 
the French called it? Distinguished consideration and it 
would be a damn sight easier than having to go through this 
emotional trash. He'd insult him and make a good clean 
break. Then he could read a book with his meals and he'd 
still be drinking their whisky. That was the phrase for it 
when a safari went bad. You ran into another white hunter 
and you asked, c How is everything going?' and he answered, 
c Oh, I'm still drinking their whisky,' and you knew every- 
thing had gone to pot. 

'I'm sorry,' Macomber said and looked at him with his 
American face that would stay adolescent until it became 
middle-aged, and Wilson noted his crew-cropped hair, fine 
eyes only faintly shifty, good nose, thin lips and handsome 
jaw. 'I'm sorry I didn't realize that. There are lots of 
things I don't know.' 

So what could he do, Wilson thought. He was all ready to 
break it off quickly and neatly and here the beggar was 
apologizing after he had just insulted him. He made one 
more attempt. 'Don't worry about me talking,' he said. 'I 
have a living to make. You know in Africa no woman ever 
misses her lion and no white man ever bolts.' 

'I bolted like a rabbit,' Macomber said. 

Now what in hell were you going to do about a man who 
talked like that, Wilson wondered. 

Wilson looked at Macomber with his flat, blue, machine- 
gunner's eyes and the other smiled back at him. He had a 
pleasant smile if you did not notice how his eyes showed 
when he was hurt. 

'Maybe I can fix it up on buffalo,' he said. 'We're after 
them next, aren't we?' 


c ln the morning if you like/ Wilson told him. Perhaps he 
had been wrong. This was certainly the way to take it. /ou 
most certainly could not tell a damned thing about an 
American. He was all for Macomber again. If you could 
forget the morning. But, of course, you couldn't. The 
morning had been about as bad as they come. 

'Here comes the Memsahib,' he said. She was walking 
over from her tent looking refreshed and cheerful and quite 
lovely. She had a very perfect oval face, so perfect that you 
expected her to be stupid. But she wasn't stupid, Wilson 
thought, no, not stupid. 

'How is the beautiful red-faced Mr. Wilson? Are you 
feeling better, Francis, my pearl?' 

'Oh, much,' said Macomber. 

'I've dropped the whole thing,' she said, sitting down at 
the table. 'What importance is there to whether Francis is 
any good at killing lions? That's not his trade. That's Mr. 
Wilson's trade. Mr. Wilson is really very impressive killing 
anything. You do kill anything, don't you?' 

'Oh, anything,' said Wilson. 'Simply anything. 3 They 
are, he thought, the hardest in the world; the hardest, the 
cruellest, the most predatory and the most attractive and 
their men have softened or gone to pieces nervously as they 
have hardened. Or is it that they pick men they can handle? 
They can't know that much at the age they marry, he- 
thought. He was grateful that he had gone through his educa- 
tion on American women before now because this was a very 
attractive one. 

'We're going after buff in the morning,' he told her. 

'I'm coming,' she said. 

'No you're not.' 

'Oh, yes, I am. Mayn't I, Francis?' 

'Why not stay in camp?' 

'Not for anything,' she said. 'I wouldn't miss something 
like to-day for anything.' 

When she left, Wilson was thinking, when she went off to 


cry she seemed a hell of a fine woman. She seemed to 
understand, to realize, to be hurt for him and for herself and 
to k*now how things really stood. She is away for twenty 
minutes and now she is back, simply enamelled in 'that 
American female cruelty. They are the damnedest womeji. 
Really the clamnedest. 

'We'll put on another show for you to-morrow,' Francis 
Macomber said. 

'You're not coming,' Wilson said. 

'You're very mistaken,' she told him. 'And I want so to 
see you perform again. You were lovely this morning. That 
is if blowing things' heads off is lovely.' 

'Here's the lunch,' said Wilson. 'You're very merry, 
aren't you?' 

'Why not? I didn't come out here to be dull.' 

'Well, it hasn't been dull,' Wilson said. He could see the 
boulders in the river and the high bank beyond with the 
trees and he remembered the morning. 

'Oh, no/ she said. 'It's been charming. And to-morrow. 
You don't know how I look forward to to-morrow.' 

'That's eland he's offering you,' Wilson said. 

'They're the big cowy things that jump like hares, aren't 

'I suppose that describes them,' Wilson said. 

'It's very good meat,' Macomber said. 

'Did you shoot it, Francis?' she asked. 


'They're not dangerous, are they?' 

'Only if they fall on you,' Wilson told her. 

'I'm so glad.' 

'Why not let up on the bitchery just a little, Margot,' 
Macomber said, cutting the eland steak and putting some 
mashed potato, gravy and carrot on the down-turned fork 
that tined through the piece of meat. 

'I suppose I could,' she said, 'since you put it so 


'To-night we'll have champagne for the lion,' Wilson said. 
'It's a bit too hot at noon.' 

'Oh, the lion,' Margot said. Td forgotten the lion!' - 

So, Robert Wilson thought to himself, she is giving him a 
ride, isn't she? Or do you suppose that's her idea of putting 
up a good show? How should a woman act when she 
discovers her husband is a bloody coward? She's damn cruel 
but they're all cruel. They govern, of course, and to govern 
one has to be cruel sometimes. Still, I've seen enough of 
their damn terrorism. 

'Have some more eland,' he said to her politely. 

That afternoon, late, Wilson and Macomber went out in 
the motor car with the native driver and the two gun-bearers. 
Mrs. Macomber stayed in the camp. It was too hot to go out, 
she said, and she was going with them in the early morning. 
As they drove off Wilson saw her standing under the big 
tree looking pretty rather than beautiful in her faintly rosy 
khaki, her dark hair drawn back off her forehead and 
gathered in a knot low on her neck, her face as fresh, he 
thought, as though she were in England. She waved to them 
as the car went off through the swale of high grass and 
curved around through the trees into the small hills of 
orchard bush. 

In the orchard bush they found a herd of impala, and 
leaving the car they stalked one old ram with long, wide- 
spread horns and Macomber killed it with a very creditable, 
shot that knocked the buck down at a good two hundred yards 
and se'nt the herd off bounding wildly and leaping over one 
another's backs in long, leg-drawn-up leaps as unbelievable 
and as floating as those one makes sometimes in dreams. 

'That was a good shot,' Wilson said. 'They're a small 
target. 5 

'Is it a worth-while head?' Macomber asked. 

'It's excellent,' Wilson told him. 'You shoot like that and 
you'll have no trouble.' 

'Do you think we'll find buffalo to-morrow? 5 


'There's a good chance of it. They feed out early in the 
morning and with luck we may catch them in the open.' 

I'd like to clear away that lion business/ Macomber said. 
'It's not very pleasant to have your wife see you do somp. 
thing like that.' 

I should think it would be even more unpleasant to do it, 
Wilson thought, wife or no wife, or to talk about it having 
done it. But he said, C I wouldn't think about that any more. 
Anyone could be upset by his first lion. That's all over.' 

But that night after dinner and a whisky and soda by the 
fire before going to bed, as Francis Macomber lay on his cot 
with the mosquito bar over him and listened to the night 
noises it was not all over. It was neither all over nor was it 
beginning. It was there exactly as it happened with some 
parts of it indelibly emphasized and he was miserably 
ashamed at it. But more than shame he felt cold, hollow 
fear in him. The fear was still there like a cold slimy hollow 
in all the emptiness where once his confidence had been and 
it made him feel sick. It was still there with him now. 

It had started the night before when he had wakened and 
heard the lion roaring somewhere up along the river. It was 
a deep sound and at the end there were sort of coughing grunts 
that made him seem just outside the tent, and when Francis 
Macomber woke in the night to hear it he was afraid. He 
could hear his wife breathing quietly, asleep. There was no 
one to tell he was afraid, nor to be afraid with him, and, 
lying alone, he did not know the Somali proverb that says 
a brave man is always frightened three times by a lion; when 
he first sees his track, when he first hears him roar and when 
he first confronts him. Then while they were eating break- 
fast by lantern light out in the dining tent, before the sun 
was up, the lion roared again and Francis thought he was 
just at the edge of camp. 

'Sounds like an old-timer,' Robert Wilson said, looking up 
from his kippers and coffee. 'Listen to him cough.' 

'Is he very close?' 


'A mile or so up the stream.' 

'Will we see him? 5 ' 

'We'll have a look.' 

'Does his roaring carry that far? It sounds as though he 
were right in camp. 5 

'^Carries a hell of a long way,' said Robert Wilson, c lt's 
strange the way it carries. Hope he's a shootable cat. The 
boys said there was a very big one about here.' 

'If I get a shot, where should I hit him,' Macomber asked, 
'to stop him?' 

'In the shoulders,' Wilson said. 'In the neck if you can 
make it. Shoot for bone. Break him down.' 

'I hope I can place it properly,' Macomber said. 

'You shoot very well,' Wilson told him. 'Take your time. 
Make sure of him. The first one in is the one that counts. 5 

'What range will it be?' 

'Can't tell. Lion has something to say about that. Don't 
shoot unless it's close enough so you can make sure. 5 

'At under a hundred yards?' Macomber asked. 

Wilson looked at him quickly. 

'Hundred's about right. Might have to take him a bit 
under. Shouldn 5 t chance a shot at much over that. A 
hundred's a decent range. You can hit him wherever you 
want at that. Here comes the Memsahib.' 

'Good morning, 5 she said. 'Are we going after that lion?' 

'As soon as you deal with your breakfast, 5 Wilson said. 
'How are you feeling?' 

'Marvellous, 5 she said. Tm very excited. 5 

Til just go and see that everything is ready.' Wilson went 
off. As he left the lion roared again. 

'Noisy beggar, 5 Wilson said. 'We'll put a stop to that.' 

*What 5 s the matte*, Francis? 5 his wife asked him. 

'Nothing, 5 Macomber said. 

'Yes, there is, 5 she said. 'What are you upset about? 5 

'Nothing, 5 he said. 

'Tell me, 5 she looked at him. 'Don't you feel yvell? 5 


'It's that damned roaring,' he said. 'It's been going on all 
night, you know.' 

f Why didn't you wake me,' she said. Td love to have 
heard it.' 

'I've got to kill the damned thing,' Macomber s~id, 

'Well, that's what you're out here for, isn't it?' 

'Yes. But I'm nervous. Hearing the thing roar gets on my 

'Well, then, as Wilson said, kill him and stop his roaring/ 

'Yes, darling,' said Francis Macomber. 'It sounds easy, 
doesn't it?' 

'You're not afraid, are you?' 

'Of course not. But I'm nervous from hearing him roar 
all night.' 

'You'll kill him marvellously,' she said. 'I know you will. 
I'm awfully anxious to see it.' 

'Finish your breakfast and we'll be starting.' 

'It's not light yet,' she said. 'This is a ridiculous hour.' 

Just then the lion roared in a deep-chested moaning, sud- 
denly guttural, ascending vibration that seemed to shake the 
air and ended in a sigh and a heavy, deep-chested grunt. 

'He sounds almost here,' Macomber's wife said. 

'My God,' said Macomber. 'I hate that damned noise.' 

'It's very impressive.' 

'Impressive. It's frightful.' 

Robert Wilson came up then carrying his short, ugly, 
shockingly big-bored .505 Gibbs and grinning. 

'Come on,' he said. 'Your gun-bearer has your Springfield 
and the big gun. Everything's in the car. Have you solids?' 

'Yes. 5 

'I'm ready,' Mrs. Macomber said. 

'Must make him stop that racket,' Wilson said. 'You get in 
front. The Memsahib can sit back here with me.' 

They climbed into the motor car and, in the grey first day- 
light, moved off up the river through the trees. Macomber 


opened the breach of his rifle and saw he had metal-cased 
bullets, shut the bolt and put the rifle on safety. He saw his 
hand was trembling. He felt in his pocket for more cartridges 
ar*d moved his fingers over the cartridges in the loops of his 
tunic front. He turned back to where Wilson sat in the rear 
seat of the doorless, box-bodied motor car beside his wife, 
them both grinning with excitement, and Wilson leaned 
forward and whispered. 

'See the birds dropping. Means the old boy has left his 

On the far bank of the stream Macomber could see, above 
the trees, vultures circling and plummeting down. 

'Chances are he'll come to drink along here/ Wilson 
whispered. 'Before he goes to lay up. Keep an eye out.' 

They were driving slowly along the high bank of the stream 
which here cut deeply to its boulder-filled bed, and they 
wound in and out through big trees as they drove. Macomber 
was watching the opposite bank when he felt Wilson take 
hold of his arm. The car stopped. 

'There he is,' he heard the whisper. 'Ahead and to the 
right. Get out and take him. He's a marvellous lion.' 

Macomber saw the lion now. He was standing almost 
broadside, his great head up and turned toward them. The 
earlymorning breeze that blew toward them was just stirring 
his dark mane, and the lion looked huge, silhouetted on the rise 
of bank in the grey morning light, his shoulders heavy, his 
barrel of a body bulking smoothly. 

'How far is he?' asked Macomber, raising his rifle. 

'About seventy-five. Get out and take him. 5 

'Why not shoot from where I am?' 

'You don't shoot them from cars,' he heard Wilson saying 
in his ear. 'Get out. He's not going to stay there all day.' 

Macomber stepped out of the curved opening at the side 
of the front seat, on to the step and down on to the ground. 
The lion still stood looking majestically and coolly toward 
this object that his eyes only showed in silhouette, bulking 


like some super-rhino. There was no man smell carried 
toWard him and he watched the object, moving his great 
head a little from side to side. Then watching the object, 
not afraid, but hesitating before going down the 
drink with such a thing opposite him, he saw aman figure 
detach itself from it and he turned his heavy head and 
swung away toward the cover of the trees as he heard a 
cracking crash and felt the slam of a .30-06 220-grain solid 
bullet that bit his flank and ripped in sudden hot scalding 
nausea through his stomach. He trotted, heavy, big-footed, 
swinging wounded full-bellied, through the trees toward 
the tall grass and cover, and the crash came again to go 
past him ripping the air apart. Then it crashed again and 
he felt the blow as it hit his lower ribs and ripped on 
through, blood sudden hot and frothy in his mouth, and he 
galloped toward the high grass where he could crouch and 
not be seen and make them bring the crashing thing close 
enough so he could make a rush and get the man that held it. 
Macomber had not thought how the lion felt as he got out 
of the car. He only knew his hands were shaking and as he 
walked away from the car it was almost impossible for him to 
make his legs move. They were stiff in the thighs, but he 
could feel the muscles fluttering. He raised the rifle, sighted 
on the junction of the lion's head and shoulders and pulled 
the trigger. Nothing happened though he pulled until he 
thought his finger would break. Then he knew he had the 
safety on and as he lowered the rifle to move the safety over 
he moved another frozen pace forward, and the lion seeing 
his silhouette now clear of the silhouette of the car, turned 
and started off at a trot, and, as Macomber fired, he heard 
a whunk that meant that the bullet was home; but the lion 
kept on going. Macomber shot again and everyone saw the 
bullet throw a spout of dirt beyond the trotting lion. He 
shot again, remembering to lower his aim, and they all 
heard the bullet hit, and the lion went into a gallop and was 
in the tall grass before he had the bolt pushed forward. 


Macomber stood there feeling sick at his stomach, his 
hands that held the Springfield still cocked, shaking, and his 
wife and Robert Wilson were standing by him. Beside him 
too,,were the two gun-bearers chattering in Wakamba. 

'I. hit him/ Macomber said. 'I hit him twice.' 

'You gut-shot him and you hit him somewhere forward/ 
Wilson said without enthusiasm. The gun-bearers looked 
very grave. They were silent now. 

'You may have killed him,' Wilson went on. 'We'll have 
to wait a while before we go in to find out.' 

'What do you mean?' 

'Let him get sick before we follow him up.' 

'Oh,' said Macomber. 

'He's a hell of a fine lion,' Wilson said cheerfully. He's 
gotten into a bad place though.' 

'Why is it bad?' 

'Can't see him until you're on him.' 

'Oh,' said Macomber. 

'Come on,' said Wilson. 'The Memsahib can stay here in 
the car. We'll go to have a look at the blood spoor.' 

'Stay here, Margot,' Macomber said to his wife. His 
mouth was very dry and it was hard for him to talk. 

'Why?' she asked. 

'Wilson says to.' 

'We're going to have a look,' Wilson said. 'You stay here. 
You can see even better from here.' 

'All right.' 

Wilson spoke in Swahili to the driver. He nodded and 
said, 'Yes, Bwana.' 

Then they went down the steep bank and across the 
stream, climbing over and around the boulders and up the 
other bank, pulling up by some projecting roots, and along it 
until they found where the lion had been trotting when 
Macomber first shot. There was dark blood on the short 
grass that the gun-bearers pointed out with grass stems, and 
that ran away behind the river bank trees. 


'What do we do?' asked Macomber. 

'Not much choice,' said Wilson. 'We can't bring the car 
over! Bank's too steep. We'll let him stiffen up a bit and then 
you and I'll go in and have a look for him.' 

'Can't we set the grass on lire?' Macomber asked. 

'Too green.' 

'Can't we send beaters?' 

Wilson looked at him appi^iisingly. 'Of course We can/ he 
said. 'But it's just a touch murderous. You see we know the 
lion's wounded. You can drive an unwounded lion he'll 
move on ahead of a noise but a wounded lion's going to 
charge. You can't see him until you're right on him. He'll 
make himself perfectly flat in cover you wouldn't think would 
hide a hare. You can't very well send boys in there to that 
sort of a show. Somebody bound to get mauled.' 

'What about the gun-bearers?' 

'Oh, they'll go with us. It's their shauri. You see, they 
signed on for it. They don't look too happy though, do they?* 

'I don't want to go in there,' said Macomber. It was out 
before he knew he'd said it. 

'Neither do I,' said Wilson very cheerily. 'Really no 
choice though.' Then, as an afterthought, he glanced at 
Macomber and saw suddenly how he was trembling and the 
pitiful look on his face. 

'You don't have to go in, of course,' he said. 'That's what 
I'm hired for, you know. That's why I'm so expensive.' 

'You mean you'd go in by yourself? Why not leave hirm 

Robert Wilson, whose entire occupation had been with the 
lion and the problem he presented, and who had not been 
thinking about Macomber except to note that he was rather 
windy, suddenly felt as though he had opened the wrong door 
in an hotel and seen something shameful. 

'What do you mean?' 

'Why not just leave him?' 

'You mean pretend to ourselves he hasn't been hit? 5 


'No. Just drop it.' 

'It isn't done.' 

'Why not?' 

-'for one thing, he's certain to be suffering. For another, 
someone efse might run onto him.' 

'I see.' 

*But you don't have to have anything to do with it.' 

Td like 'to,' Macomber said. 'I'm just scared, you know.' 

'I'll go ahead when we go in,' Wilson said, 'with Kongoni 
tracking. You keep behind me and a little to one side. 
Chances are we'll hear him growl. If we see him we'll both 
shoot. Don't worry about any thing. I'll keep you backed up. 
As a matter of fact, you know, perhaps you'd better not go. 
It might be much better. Why don't you go over and join 
the Memsahib while I just get it over with?' 

'No, I want to go.' 

*A11 right,' said Wilson. 'But don't go in if you don't want 
to. This is my shauri now, you know.' 

'I want to go,' said Macomber. 

They sat under a tree and smoked. 

'Want to go back and speak to the Memsahib while we're 
waiting?' Wilson asked. 


Til just step back and tell her to be patient.' 

*Good/ said Macomber. He sat there, sweating under his 
arms, his mouth dry, his stomach hollow feeling, wanting to 
find courage to tell Wilson to go on and finish off the lion 
without him. He could not know that Wilson was furious be- 
cause he had not noticed the state he was in earlier and sent 
him back to his wife. While he sat there Wilson came up. 'I 
have your big gun,' he said. 'Take it. We've given him time, 
I think. Come on.' 

Macomber took the big gun and Wilson said: 

'Keep behind me and about five yards to the right and do 
exactly as I tell you. 3 Then he spoke in Swahili to the two 
:gun-bearers who looked the picture of gloom. 


'Let's go,' he said. 

'Could I have a drink of water?' Macomber asked. Wilson 
spoSe to the older gun-bearer, who wore a canteen on his belt 
and the man unbuckled it, unscrewed the top and handed it 
to Macomber, who took it noticing how heavy it Seemed a<nd 
how hairy and shoddy the felt covering was in his hand. He 
raised it to drink and looked ahead at the high grass with the 
flat-topped trees behind it. A breeze was blowing toward 
them and the grass rippled gently in the wind. He looked at 
the gun-bearer and he could see the gun-bearer was 
suffering too with fear. 

Thirty-five yards into the grass the big lion lay flattened 
out along the ground. His ears were back and his only move- 
ment was a slight twitching up and down of his long, black- 
tufted tail. He had turned at bay as soon as he had reached 
this cover and he was sick with the wound through his full 
belly, and weakening with the wound through his lungs that 
brought a thin foamy red to his mouth each time he 
breathed. His flanks were wet and hot and flies were on the 
little opening the solid bullets had made in his tawny hide, 
and his big yellow eyes, narrowed with hate, looked straight 
ahead, only blinking when the pain came as he breathed, 
and his claws dug in the soft baked earth. All of him, pain, 
sickness, hatred and all of his remaining strength, was 
tightening into an absolute concentration for a rush. He 
could hear the men talking and he waited, gathering all of 
himself into this preparation for a charge as soon as the men 
would come into the grass. As he heard their voices his tail 
stiffened to twitch up and down, and, as they came into the 
edge of the grass, he made a" coughing grunt and charged. 

Kongoni, the old gun-bearer, in the lead watching the 
blood spoor, Wilson watching the grass for any movement, 
his big gun ready, the second gun-bearer looking ahead and 
listening, Macomber close to Wilson, his rifle cocked, they 
had just moved into the grass when Macomber heard the 
blood-choked cbughing grunt, and saw the swishing rush in 


the grass. The next thing he knew he was running; running 
wildly, in panic in the open, running toward the stream. 

He heard the ca-ra-wong\ of Wilson's big rifle, and again 
in % "second crashing carawongl and turning saw the lion, 
horrible-looking now, with half his head seeming to be gone, 
crawling toward Wilson in the edge of the tall grass while 
the red-faced man worked the bolt on the short ugly rifle and 
aimed carefully as another blasting carawongl came from the 
muzzle, and the crawling, heavy, yellow bulk of the lion stif- 
fened and the huge, mutilated head slid forward and Macom- 
ber, standing by himself in the clearing where he had run, 
holding a loaded rifle, while two black men and a white man 
looked back at him in contempt, knew the lion was dead. 
He came toward Wilson, his tallness all seeming a naked 
reproach, and Wilson looked at him and said: 

'Want to take pictures?' 

'No,' he said. 

That was all anyone had said until they reached the motor 
car. Then Wilson had said: 

'Hell of a fine lion. Boys will skin him out. We might as 
well stay here in the shade.' 

Macomber's wife had not looked at him nor he at her and 
he had sat by her in the back seat with Wilson sitting in the 
front seat. Once he had reached over and taken his wife's 
hand without looking at her and she had removed her hand 
from his. Looking across the stream to where the gun- 
bearers were skinning out the lion he could see that she had 
been able to see the whole thing. While they sat there his 
wife had reached forward and put her hand on Wilson's 
shoulder. He turned and she had leaned forward over the 
low seat and kissed him on the mouth. 

'Oh, I say,' said Wilson, going redder than his natural 
baked colour. 

'Mr. Robert Wilson,' she said. 'The beautifully red-faced 
Mr. Robert Wilson.' 

Then she sat down beside Macomber again and looked 


away across the stream to where the lion lay, with uplifted, 
whitfc-muscled, tendon-marked naked forearms, and white 
bloating belly, as the black men fleshed away the skin. 
Finally the gun-bearers brought the skin'over, wet and heavy, 
and climbed in behind with it, rolling it up before they got 
in, and the motor car started. No one had said anything 
more until they were back in camp. 

That was the story of the lion. Macomber did not know 
how the lion had felt before he started his rush, nor during it 
when the unbelievable smash of the .505 with a muzzle 
velocity of two tons had hit him in the mouth, nor what kept 
him coming after that, when the second ripping crash had 
smashed his hind quarters and he had come crawling on 
toward the crashing, blasting thing that had destroyed him. 
Wilson knew something about it and only expressed it by 
saying/Damned fine lion', but Macomber did not know how 
Wilson felt about things either. He did not know how his 
wife felt except that she was through with him. 

His wife had beerr through with him before but it never 
lasted. He was very wealthy, and would be much wealthier, 
and he knew she would not leave him ever now. That was 
one of the few things that he really knew. He knew about 
that, about motor cycles that was earliest about motor 
cars, about duck-shooting, about fishing, trout, salmon and 
big-sea, about sex in books, many books, too many books, 
about all court games, about dogs, not much about horses, 
about hanging on to his money, about most of the other 
things his world dealt in, and about his wife not leaving him. 
His wife had been a great beauty and she was still a great 
beauty in Africa, but she was not a great enough beauty any 
more at home to be able to leave him and better herself and 
she knew it and he knew it. She had missed the chance to 
leave him and he knew it. If he had been better with women 
she would probably have started to worry about him 
getting another new, beautiful wife; but she knew too 
much about him to worry about him either. Also, he had 


always had a great tolerance which seemed the nicest thing 
about him if it were not the most sinister. * 

All in all they were known as a comparatively happily*mar- 
riecl couple, one of those whose disruption is often rumoured 
but never* occurs, and as the society columnist put it, they 
were adding more than a spice of adventure to their much 
envied and ever-enduring Romance by a Safari in what was 
known as* Darkest Africa until the Martin Johnsons lighted it 
on so many silver screens where they were pursuing Old 
Simba the lion, the buffalo, Tembo the elephant and as well 
collecting specimens for the Museum of Natural History. 
This same columnist had reported them on the verge at least 
three times in the past and they had been. But they always 
made it up. They had a sound basis of union. Margot was 
too beautiful for Macomber to divorce her and Macomber 
had too much money for Margot ever to leave him. 

It was now about three o'clock in the morning and Francis 
Macomber, who had been asleep a little while after he had 
stopped thinking about the lion, wakened and then slept 
again, woke suddenly, frightened in a dream of the bloody- 
headed lion standing over him, and listening while his heart 
pounded, he realized that his wife was not in the other cot 
in the tent. He lay awake with that knowledge for two hours. 

At the end of that time his wife came into the tent, lifted 
her mosquito bar and crawled cozily into bed. 

'Where have you been? 3 Macomber asked in the darkness. 

'Hello,' she said. 'Are you awake?' 

'Where have you been?' 

'I just went out to get a breath of air.' 

'You did, like hell.' 

'What do you want me to say, darling?' 

'Where have you been?' 

'Out to get a breath of air.' 

'That's a new name for it. You are a bitch.' 

'Well, you're a coward.' 

'All right/ he said. 'What of it?' 


'Nothing as far as I'm concerned. But please let's not talk 
darling, because I'm very sleepy.' 

'You think that I'll take anything.' 

'I know you will, sweet.' 

'Well, I won't.' 

'Please, darling, let's not talk. I'm so very sleepy.' 

'There wasn't going to be any of that. You promised there 
wouldn't be.' 

'Well, there is now,' she said sweetly. 

'You said if we made this trip that there would be none 
of that. You promised.' 

'Yes, darling. That's the way I meant it to be. But the 
trip was spoiled yesterday. We don't have to talk about it, 
do we?' 

'You don't wait long when you have an advantage, 
do you?' 

'Please let's not talk. I'm so sleepy, darling.' 

Tm going to talk.' 

'Don't mind me then, because I'm going to sleep.' And 
she did. 

At breakfast they were all three at the table before day- 
light and Francis Macomber found that, of all the many men 
that he had hated, he hated Robert Wilson the most. 

'Sleep well?' Wilson asked in his throaty voice, filling a pipe. 

'Did you?' 

'Topping,' the white hunter told him. 

You bastard, thought Macomber, you insolent bastard. 

So she woke him when she came in, Wilson thought, look- 
ing at them both with his flat, cold eyes. Well, why doesn't 
he keep his wife where she belongs? What does he think I 
am, a bloody plaster saint? Let him keep her where she 
belongs. It's his own fault. 

'Do you think we'll find buffalo?' Margot asked, pushing 
away a dish of apricots. 

'Chance of it,' Wilson said and smiled at her. 'Why don't 
you stay in camp?' 


'Not for anything,' she told him. 

'Why not order her to stay in camp?' Wilson said to 

iYou order her,' said Macomber coldly. 

'Let's not have any ordering, nor,' turning to Macomber, 
'any silliness, Francis,' Margot said quite pleasantly. 

'Are you ready to start?' Macomber asked. 

'Any time,' Wilson told him. 'Do you want the Memsahib 
to go?' 

'Does it make any difference whether I do or not?' 

The hell with it, thought Robert Wilson. The utter com- 
plete hell with it. So this is what it's going to be like. Well, 
this is what it's going to be like, then. 

'Makes no difference,' he said. 

'You're sure you wouldn't like to stay in camp with her 
yourself and let me go out and hunt the buffalo?' Macomber 

'Can't do that,' said Wilson. 'Wouldn't talk rot if I were 

Tm not talking rot. I'm disgusted.' 

'Bad word, disgusted.' 

'Francis, will you please try to speak sensibly?' his wife said. 

'I speak too damned sensibly,' Macomber said. 'Did you 
ever eat such filthy food?' 

'Something wrong with the food?' asked Wilson quietly. 

'No more than with everything else.' 

'I'd pull yourself together, laddybuck/ Wilson said very 
quietly. 'There's a boy waits at table that understands a 
little English.' 

'The hell with him.' 

Wilson stood up and puffing on his pipe strolled away, 
speaking a few words in Swahili to one of the gun-bearers 
who was standing waiting for him. Macomber and his wife 
sat on at the table. He was staring at his coffee cup. 

'If you make a scene I'll leave you, darling,' Margot said 


'No, you won't.' 

'You can try it and see.' 

'You won't leave me.' 

'No/ she said. C I won't leave you and you'll behave 

'Behave myself? That's a way to talk. Behave myself.' 

'Yes. Behave yourself.' 

'Why don't you try behaving?' 

'I've tried it so long. So very long.' 

'I hate that red-faced swine/ Macomber said. 'I loathe the 
sight of him.' 

'He's really very nice.' 

'Oh, shut up? Macomber almost shouted. Just then the car 
came up and stopped in front of the dining tent and the 
driver and the two gun-bearers got out. Wilson walked over 
and looked at the husband and wife sitting there at the table. 

'Going shooting?' he asked. 

'Yes/ said Macomber, standing up. 'Yes.' 

'Better bring a woolly. It will be cool in the car/ Wilson 

Til get my leather jacket/ Margot said. 

'The boy has it/ Wilson told her. He climbed into the 
front with the driver and Francis Macomber and his wife 
sat, not speaking, in the back seat. 

Hope the silly beggar doesn't take a notion to blow the 
back of my head off, Wilson thought to himself. Women are 
a nuisance on safari. 

The car was grinding down to cross the river at a pebbly 
ford in the grey daylight and then climbed, angling up the 
steep bank, where Wilson had ordered a way shovelled out 
the day before so they could reach the parklike wooded 
rolling country on the far side. 

It was a good morning, Wilson thought. There was a 
heavy dew and as the wheels went through the grass and low 
bushes he could smell the odour of the crushed fronds. It was 
an odour like verbena and he liked this early morning smell 


of the dew, the crushed bracken and the look of the tree 
trunks showing black through the early morning mist, as t the 
car made its way through the untracked, parklike country. 
HeJhad put the two in the back seat out of his mind now and 
was thinking about buffalo. The buffalo that he was after 
stayed in the daytime in a thick swamp where it was impos- 
sible to get a shot, but in the night they fed out into an open 
stretch of Country and if he could come between them and 
their swamp with the car, Macomber would have a good 
chance at them in the open. He did not want to hunt buff 
with Macomber in thick cover. He did not want to hunt buff 
or anything else with Macomber at all, but he was a pro- 
fessional hunter and he had hunted with some rare ones in his 
time. If they got buff to-day there would only be rhino to 
come and the poor man would have gone through his dan- 
gerous game and things might pick up. He'd have nothing 
more to do with the woman and Macomber would get over 
that too. He must have gone through plenty of that before 
by the look of things. Poor beggar. He must have a way of 
getting over it. Well, it was the poor sod's own bloody fault. 

He, Robert Wilson, carried a double size cot on safari to 
accommodate any windfalls he might receive. He had 
hunted for a certain clientele, the international, fast, sporting 
set, where the women did not feel they were getting their 
money's worth unless they had shared that cot with the 
white hunter. He despised them when he was away from 
them although he liked some of them well enough at the time, 
but he made his living by them; and their standards were 
his standards as long as they were hiring him. 

They were his standards in all except the shooting. He had 
his own standards about the killing and they could live up to 
them or get someone else to hunt them. He knew, too, that 
they all respected him for this. This Macomber was art odd 
one though. Damned if he wasn't. Now the wife. Well, the 
wife. Yes, the wife, Mm, the wife. Well, he'd dropped all 
that. He looked around at them. Macomber sat grim and 


furious. Margot smiled at him. She looked younger to-day, 
more innocent and fresher and not so professionally beau- 
tifuh What's in her heart God knows, Wilson thought. She 
hadn't talked much last night. At that it was a pleasure to 
see her. 9 

The mottfr car climbed up a slight rise and went on 
through the trees and then out into a grassy prairie-like 
opening and kept in the shelter of the trees along the edge, 
the driver going slowly and Wilson looking carefully out 
across the prairie and all along its far side. He stopped the 
car and studied the opening with his field glasses. Then he 
motioned to the driver to go on and the car moved slowly 
along, the driver avoiding wart-hog holes and driving 
around the mud castles ants had built. Then, looking across 
the opening, Wilson suddenly turned and said : 

'By God, there they are!' 

And looking where he pointed, while the car jumped 
forward and Wilson spoke in rapid Swahili to the driver, 
Macomber saw three huge, black animals looking almost 
cylindrical in their long heaviness, like big black tank cars, 
moving at a gallop across the far edge of the open prairie. 
They moved at a stiff-necked, stiff-bodied gallop and he 
could see the upswept wide black horns on their heads as 
they galloped heads out; the heads not moving. 

They're three old bulls,' Wilson said. 'We'll cut them off 
before they get to the swamp.' 

. The car was going a wild forty-five miles an hour across the 
open, and as Macomber watched, the buffalo got bigger and 
bigger until he could see the grey, hairless, scabby look of one 
huge bull and how his neck was a part of his shoulders and' 
the shiny black of his horns as he galloped a little behind the 
others that were strung out in that steady plunging gait; and 
then, the car swaying as though it had just jumped a road, 
they drew up close and he could see the plunging hugeness of 
the bull, and the dust in his sparsely haired hide, the wide 
boss of horn and his outstretched, wide-nostrilled muzzle, 


and he was raising his rifle when Wilson shouted, 'Not from 
the car, you fool!' and he had no fear, only hatred of Wilson, 
while the brakes clamped on and the car skidded, ploughing 
sideways to an almost stop and Wilson was out on one side 
and he on the other, stumbling as his feet hit the still speeding- 
by of the earth, and then he was shooting at the bull as he 
moved away, hearing the bullets whunk into him, emptying 
his rifle at him as he moved steadily away, finally remem- 
bering to get his shots forward into the shoulder, and as he 
fumbled to re-load, he saw the bull was down. Down on his 
knees, his big head tossing, and seeing the other two still 
galloping he shot at the leader and hit him. He shot again 
and missed and he heard the carawonging roar as Wilson shot 
and saw the leading bull slide forward onto his nose. 
'Get that other,' Wilson said. 'Now you're shooting!' 
But the other bull was moving steadily at the same gallop 
and he missed, throwing a spout of dirt, and Wilson missed 
and the dust rose in a cloud and Wilson shouted, 'Gome on. 
He's too far!' and grabbed his arm and they were in the car 
again, Macomber and Wilson hanging on the sides and 
rocketing swayingly over the uneven ground, drawing up on 
the steady, plunging, heavy-necked, straight-moving gallop 
of the bull. 

They were behind him and Macomber was filling his rifle, 
dropping shells onto the ground, jamming it, clearing the 
jam, then they were almost up with the bull when Wilson 
yelled 'Stop! 5 and the car skidded so that it almost swung 
over and Macomber fell forward onto his feet, slammed his 
bolt forward and fired as far forward as he could aim into 
the galloping, rounded black back, aimed and shot again, 
then again, then again, and the bullets, all of them hitting, 
had no effect on the buffalo that he could see. Then Wilson 
shot, the roar deafening him, and he could see the bull 
stagger. Macomber shot again, aiming carefully, and down 
he came, onto his knees. 

'All right, 5 Wilson said. 'Nice work. That's the three.' 


Macomber felt a drunken elation. 

'How many times did you shoot?' he asked. 

'Jhst three/ Wilson said. 'You killed the first bull. The 
biggest one. I helped you finish the other two. Afraid fhey 
might have got into cover. You had them killed. * I was just 
mopping up'a little. You shot damn well.' 

'Let's go to the car,' said Macomber. 'I want a drink.' 

'Got to finish off that buff first,' Wilson told him. The 
buffalo was on his knees and he jerked his head furiously and 
bellowed in pig-eyed, roaring rage as they came toward him, 

'Watch he doesn't get up,' Wilson said. Then, 'Get a little 
broadside and take him in the neck just behind the ear.' 

Macomber aimed carefully at the centre of the huge, 
jerking, rage-driven neck and shot. At the shot the head 
dropped forward. 

'That does it,' said Wilson. 'Got the spine. They're a hell 
of a looking thing, aren't they?' 

'Let's get the drink,' said Macomber. In his life he had 
never felt so good. 

In the car Macomber's wife sat very white faced. 'You 
were marvellous, darling,' she said to Macomber. 'What a^ 

'Was it rough?' Wilson asked. 

'It was frightful. I've never been more frightened in my 

'Let's all have a drink,' Macomber said. 

'By all means,' said Wilson. 'Give it to the Memsahib.' She 
drank the neat whisky from the flask and shuddered a little 
when she swallowed. She handed the flask to Macomber who 
handed it to Wilson. 

'It was frightfully exciting,' she said. 'It's given me a 
dreadful headache. I didn't know you were allowed to 
shoot them from cars though. 3 

'No one shot from cars,' said Wilson coldly. 

'I mean chase them from cars.' 

'Wouldn't ordinarily/ Wilson said. 'Seemed sporting 


enough to me though while we were doing it. Taking more 
chance driving that way across the plain full of holes and one 
thing and another than hunting on foot. Buffalo could have 
charged us each time we shot if he liked. Gave him every 
chance. Wouldn't mention it to anyone though. It's illegal 
if that's what you mean. 5 

'It seemed very unfair to me,' Margot said, 'chasing those 
big helpless things in a motor car.' 

'Did it?' said Wilson. 

'What would happen if they heard about it in Nairobi?' 

'I'd lose my licence for one thing. Other unpleasant- 
nesses,' Wilson said, taking a drink from the flask. Td be 
out of business.' 


'Yes, really.' 

'Well,' said Macomber, and he smiled for the first time all 
day. 'Now she has something on you.' 

'You have such a pretty way of putting things, Francis,' 
Margot Macomber said. Wilson looked at them both. If a 
four-letter man marries a five-letter woman, he was thinking, 
what number of letters would their children be? What he 
said was 'We lost a gun-bearer. Did you notice it?' 

'My God, no/ Macomber said. 

'Here he comes,' Wilson said. 'He's all right. He must 
have fallen off when we left the first bull.' 

Approaching them was the middle-aged gun-bearer, limp- 
ing along in his knitted cap, khaki tunic, shorts and rubber 
sandals, gloomy-faced and disgusted looking. As he came up 
he called out to Wilson in Swahili and they all saw the 
change in the white hunter's face. 

'What does he say?' asked Margot. 

'He says the first bull got up and went into the bush,' 
Wilson said with no expression in his voice. 

'Oh/ said Macomber blankly. 

'Then it's going to be just like the lion, 3 said Margot, full 
of anticipation. 


'It's not going to be a damned bitlike the lion,' Wilson told 
her,, 'Did you want another drink, Macomber?' 

'Thanks, yes,' Macomber said. He expected the feeling he 
had had about the lion to come back but it did not. Forthe 
first time in his life he really felt wholly without feajr. Instead 
of fear he had a feeling of definite elation. 

'We'll go and have a look at the second bull,' Wilson said. 
Til tell the driver to put the car in the shade.' 

'What are you going to do?' asked Margot Macomber. 

'Take a look at the buff,' Wilson said. 

Til come.' 

'Come along.' 

The three of them walked over to where the second buffalo 
bulked blackly in the open, head forward on the grass, the 
massive horns swung wide. 

'He's a very good head,' Wilson said. 'That's close to a 
fifty-inch spread.' 

Macomber was looking at him with delight. 

'He's hateful looking,' said Margot. 'Can't we go into the 

'Of course,' Wilson said. 'Look,' he said to Macomber, and 
pointed. 'See that patch of bush?' 


'That's where the first bull went in. The gun-bearer said 
when he fell off the bull was down. He was watching us 
helling along and the other two buff galloping. When he 
looked up there was the bull up and looking at him. Gun- 
bearer ran like hell and the bull went off slowly into that 

'Can we go in after him now?' asked Macomber eagerly. 

Wilson looked at him appraisingly. Damned if this isn't a 
strange one, he thought. Yesterday he's scared sick and 
to-day he's a ruddy fire-eater. 

'No, we'll give him a while.' 

'Let's please go into the shade,' Margot said. Her face was 
white and s}ie looked ill. 


They made their way to the car where it stood under a 
single wide-spreading tree and all climbed in. , 

'Chances are he's dead in there, 5 Wilson remarked. 'After 
a little we'll have a look. 5 

Macon\ber felt a wild unreasonable happiness that he had 
never known before. 

'By God, that was a chase/ he said. 'I've never felt any 
such feelirg. Wasn't it marvellous, Margot?' 

'I hated it. 3 


'I hated it,' she said bitterly. 'I loathed it.' 

'You know, I don't think I'd ever be afraid of anything 
again, 5 Macomber said to Wilson. 'Something happened in 
me after we first saw the buff and started after him. Like a 
dam bursting. It was pure excitement.' 

'Cleans out your liver,' said Wilson. 'Damn funny things 
happen to people.' 

Macomber's face was shining. 'You know, something did 
happen to me,' he said. 'I feel absolutely different.' 

His wife said nothing and eyed him strangely. She was 
sitting far back in the seat and Macomber was sitting forward 
talking to Wilson who turned sideways talking over the back 
of the front seat. 

'You know, I'd like to try another lion, 5 Macomber said. 
'I'm really not afraid of them now. After all, what can they 
do to you?' 

'That's it,' said Wilson. 'Worst one can do is kill you. How 
does it go? Shakespeare. Damned good. See if I can remem- 
ber. Oh, damned good. Used to quote it to myself at one 
time. Let's see. "By my troth, I cafe not; a man can die but 
once; we owe God a death, and let it go which way it will he 
that dies this year is quit for the next." Damned fine, eh?' 

He was very embarrassed, having brought out this thing he 
had lived by, but he had seen men come of age before and it 
always moved him. It was not a matter of their twenty-first 


It had taken a strange chance of hunting, a sudden precipi- 
tation into action without opportunity for worrying before- 
hand, to bring this about with Macomber, but regardless of 
how it had happened it had most certainly happened. Look at 
the beggar now, Wilson thought. It's that some of them stay 
little boys so'iong, Wilson thought. Sometimes all their lives. 
Their figures stay boyish when they're fifty. The great 
American boy-men. Damned strange people. Bijt he liked 
this Macomber now. Damned strange fellow. Probably 
meant the end of cuckoldry too. Well, that would be a 
damned good thing. Damned good thing. Beggar had 
probably been afraid all his life. Don't know what started it. 
But over now. Hadn't had time to be afraid with the buff. 
That and being angry too. Motor car too. Motor cars made 
it familiar. Be a damn fire-eater now. He'd seen it in the war 
work the same way. More of a change than any loss of 
virginity. Fear gone like an operation. Something else 
grew in its place. Main thing a man had. Made him into 
a man. Women knew it too. No bloody fear. 

From the far corner of the seat Margaret Macomber 
looked at the two of them. There was no change in Wilson. 
She saw Wilson as she had seen him the day before when she 
had first realized what his great talent was. But she saw the 
change in Francis Macomber now. 

'Do you have that feeling of happiness about what's going 
to happen?' Macomber asked, still exploring his new wealth. 

'You're not supposed to mention it,' Wilson said, looking 
in the other's face. 'Much more fashionable to say you're 
scared. Mind you, you'll be scared too, plenty of times.' 

'But you have a feeling of happiness about action to come?' 

'Yes,' said Wilson. 'There's that. Doesn't do to talk too 
much about all this. Talk the whole thing away. No 
pleasure in anything if you mouth it up too much.' 

'You're both talking rot,' said Margot. 'Just because 
you've chased some helpless animals in a motor car you talk 
like heroes.' 


'Sorry/ said Wilson. 'I have been gassing too much.' She's 
worried about it already, he thought. 

'If you don't know what we're talking about, why not keep 
out of it?' Macomber asked his wife. 

'You've 4 gotten awfully brave, awfully suddenly,' his wife 
said contemptuously, but her contempt was not secure. She 
was very afraid of something. 

Macomber laughed, a very natural hearty laugh. 'You 
know I have,' he said. C I really have.' 

'Isn't it sort of late?' Margot said bitterly. Because she had 
done the best she could for many years back and the way 
they were together now was no one person's fault. 

'Not for me,' said Macomber. 

Margot said nothing but sat back in the corner of the 

'Do you think we've given him time enough?' Macomber 
asked Wilson cheerfully. 

'We might have a look,' Wilson said. 'Have you any solids 

'The gun-bearer has some.' 

Wilson called in Swahili and the older gun-bearer, who 
was skinning out one of the heads, straightened up, pulled a 
box of solids out of his pocket and brought them over to 
Macomber, who filled his magazine and put the remaining 
shells in his pocket. 

'You might as well shoot the Springfield,' Wilson said. 
'You're used to it. We'll leave the Mannlicher in the car with 
the Memsahib. Your gun-bearer can carry your heavy gun. 
I've this damned cannon. Now let me tell you about them.' 
He had saved this until the last because he did not want to 
worry Macomber. 'When a buff comes he comes with his 
head high and thrust straight out. The boss of the horns 
covers any sort of brain shot. The only shot is straight into 
the nose. The only other shot is into his chest or, if you're to 
one side, into the neck or the shoulders. After they've been 
hit once they take a hell of a lot of killing. Don't try any- 


thing fancy. Take the easiest shot there is. They've finished 
skinning out that head now. Should we get started? 3 

Hu called to the gun-bearers, who came up wiping their 
hands, and the older one got into the back. 

Til only take Kongoni, 5 Wilson said. 'The other can watch 
to keep the birds away.' 

As the car moved slowly across the open space toward the 
island of brushy trees that ran in a tongue of foliage along a 
dry watercourse that cut the open swale, Macomber felt his 
heart pounding and his mouth was dry again, but it was 
excitement, not fear. 

'Here's where he went in/ Wilson said. Then to the gun- 
bearer in Swahili, 'Take the blood spoor'. 

The car was parallel to the patch of bush. Macomber, 
Wilson and the gun-bearer got down. Macomber, looking 
back, saw his wife, with the rifle by her side, looking at him. 
He waved to her and she did not wave back. 

The brush was very thick ahead and the ground was dry. 
The middle-aged gun-bearer was sweating heavily and 
Wilson had his hat down over his eyes and his red neck 
showed just ahead of Macomber. Suddenly the gun-bearer 
said something in Swahili to Wilson and ran forward. 

'He's dead in there,' Wilson said. 'Good work', and he 
turned to grip Macomber's hand and as they shook hands, 
grinning at each other, the gun-bearer shouted wildly and 
they saw him coming out of the bush sideways, fast as a crab, 
and the bull coming, nose out, mouth tight closed, blood 
dripping, massive head straight out, coming in a charge, his 
little pig eyes bloodshot as he looked at them. Wilson, who 
was ahead, was kneeling shooting, and Macomber, as he fired, 
unhearing his shot in the roaring of Wilson's gun, saw frag- 
ments like slate burst from the huge boss of the horns, and the 
head jerked; he shot again at the wide nostrils and saw the 
horns jolt again and fragments fly, and he did not see Wilson 
now and, aiming carefully, shot again with the buffalo's huge 
bulk almost on him and his rifle almost level with the on- 


coming head, nose out, and he could see the little wicked 
eyes and the head started to lower, and he felt a sudden white- 
hot, blinding flash explode inside his head and that was all 
he ever felt. 

Wilson Jiad ducked to one side to get in a shoulder shot. 
Macomber had stood solid and shot for the nos'e, shooting a 
touch high each time and hitting the heavy horns, splintering 
and chippmg them like hitting a slate roof, and Mrs. Macom- 
ber in the car, had shot at the buffalo with the 6.5 Mann- 
licher as it seemed about to gore Macomber and had hit her 
husband about two inches up and a little to one side of the 
base of his skull. 

Francis Macomber lay now, face down, not two yards from 
where the buffalo lay on his side and his wife knelt over him 
with Wilson beside her. 

'I wouldn't turn him over,' Wilson said. 
The woman was crying hysterically. 
Td get back in the car,' Wilson said. 'Where's the rifle?' 
She shook her head, her face contorted. The gun-bearer 
picked up the rifle, 

'Leave it as it is,' said Wilson. Then, 'Go get Abdulla so 
that he may witness the manner of the accident'. 

He knelt down, took a handkerchief from his pocket, and 
spread it over Francis Macomber's crew-cropped head where 
it lay. The blood sank into the dry, loose earth. 

Wilson stood up and saw the buffalo on his side, his legs 
out, his thinly-haired belly crawling with ticks. 'Hell of a 
good bull,' his brain registered automatically. C A good fifty 
inches, or better. Better.' He called to the driver and told 
him to spread a blanket over the body and stay by it. Then 
he walked over to the motor car where the woman sat crying 
in the corner. 

'That was a pretty thing to do,' he said in a toneless voice. 
'He would have left you too.' 
'Stop it,' she said. 
'Of course it's an accident,' he said. 'I know that.' 


'Stop it,' she said. 

'Don't worry,' he said. 'There will be a certain amount of 
unpleasantness but I will have some photographs taken that 
will be very useful at the inquest. There's the testimony of the 
gun-bearers and the driver too. You're perfectly all right.' 

'Stop it,' she said. 

'There's a hell of a lot to be done,' he said. 'And I'll have 
to send a truck off to the lake to wireless for a plane to take 
the three of us into Nairobi. Why didn't you poison him? 
That's what they do in England.' 

'Stop it. Stop it. Stop it,' the woman cried. 

Wilson looked at her with his flat blue eyes. 

'I'm through now,' he said. 'I was a little angry. I'd begun 
to like your husband.' 

'Oh, please stop it,' she said. 'Please, please stop it.' 

'That's better,' Wilson said. 'Please is much better. Now 
I'll stop.' 


MADRID is full of boys named Paco, which is the diminfttive 
of the name Francisco, and there is a Madrid joke about a 
father who came to Madrid and inserted an advertisement in 
the personal columns of El Liberal which said: PAGO MEET ME 
and how g, squadron of Guardia Civil had to be called out to 
disperse the eight hundred young men who answered the 
advertisement. But this Paco, who waited on table at the 
Pension Luarca, had no father to forgive him, nor anything 
for the father to forgive. He had two older sisters who were 
chambermaids at the Luarca, who had gotten their place 
through coming from the same small village as a former 
Luarca chambermaid who had proven hardworking and 
honest and hence given her village and its products a good 
name; and these sisters had paid his way on the auto-bus to 
Madrid and gotten him his job as an apprentice waiter. He 
came from a village in a part of Extremadura where con- 
ditions were incredibly primitive, food scarce, and comforts 
unknown, and he had worked hard ever since he could 

He was a well built boy with very black, rather curly hair, 
good teeth and a skin that his sisters envied, and he had a 
ready and unpuzzled smile. He was fast on his feet and did 
his work well and he loved his sisters, who seemed beautiful 
and sophisticated; he loved Madrid, which was still an un- 
believable place, and he loved his work which, done under 
bright lights, with clean linen, the wearing of evening clothes, 
and abundant food in the kitchen, seemed romantically 

There were from eight to a dozen other people who lived at 
the Luarca and ate in the dining-room, but for Paco, the 
youngest of the three waiters who served at table, the only 
ones who really existed were the bull fighters. 

Second-rate matadors lived at that pension because the 



address in the Calle San Jeronimo was good, the food was 
excellent and the room and board was cheap. It is necessary 
for a bull fighter to give the appearance, if not of prosperity, 
at least of respectability, since decorum and dignity rank 
above courage as the virtues most highly prized in Spain, and 
bull fighters "stayed at the Luarca until their last pesetas were 
gone. There is no record of any bull fighter having left the 
Luarca for a better or more expensive hotel; second-rate bull 
fighters never became first rate; but the descent from the 
Luarca was swift since anyone could stay there who was 
making anything at all and a bill was never presented to a 
guest unasked until the woman who ran the place knew that 
the case was hopeless. 

At this time there were three full matadors living at the 
Luarca as well as two very good picadors, and one excellent 
banderillero. The Luarca was luxury for the picadors and 
the banderilleros who, with their families in Seville, required 
lodging in Madrid during the Spring season; but they were 
well paid and in the fixed employ of fighters who were 
heavily contracted during the coming season and the three 
of these subalterns would probably make much more apiece 
than any of the three matadors. Of the three matadors one 
was ill and trying to conceal it; one had passed his short 
vogue as a novelty; and the third was a coward. 

The coward had at one time, until he had received a 
peculiar atrocious horn wound in the lower abdomen at the 
start of his first season as a full matador, been exceptionally 
brave and remarkably skilful and he still had many of the 
hearty mannerisms of his days of success. He was jovial to 
excess and laughed constantly with and without provocation. 
He had, when successful, been very addicted to practical 
jokes, but he had given them up now. They took an assur- 
ance that he did not feel. This matador had an intelligent, 
very open face and he carried himself with much style. 

The matador who was ill was careful never to show it and 
was meticulous about eating a little of all the dishes that were 


presented at the table. He had a great many handkerchiefs 
which he laundered himself in his room and, lately, he had 
been selling his fighting suits. He had sold one, chdaply, 
before Christmas and another in the first week of April. 
They had been very expensive suits, had always been well 
kept and he had one more. Before he had became ill he had 
been a very promising, even a sensational, fighter and, while 
he himself could not read, he had clippings which said that 
in his debut in Madrid he had been better than Belmonte. 
He ate alone at a small table and looked up very little. 

The matador who had once been a novelty was very short 
and brown and very dignified. He also ate alone at a separate 
table and he smiled very rarely and never laughed. He came 
from Valladolid, where the people are extremely serious, and 
he was a capable matador; but his style had become old- 
fashioned before he had ever succeeded in endearing himself 
to the public through his virtues, which were courage and a 
calm capability, and his name on a poster would draw no 
one to a bull ring. His novelty had been that he was so 
short that he could barely see over the bull's withers, but 
there were other short fighters, and he had never succeeded 
in imposing himself on the public's fancy. 

Of the picadors one was a thin, hawk-faced, grey-haired 
man, lightly built but with legs and arms like iron, who 
always wore cattlemen's boots under his trousers, drank too 
much every evening and gazed amorously at any woman in 
the pension. The other was huge, dark, brown-faced, good- 
looking, with black hair like an Indian and enormous hands. 
Both were great picadors although the first was reputed to 
have lost much of his ability ^through drink and dissipation, 
and the second was said to be too headstrong and quarrel- 
some to stay with any matador more than a single season. 

The banderillero was middle-aged, grey, cat-quick in spite 
of his years and, sitting at the table he looked a moderately 
prosperous business man. His legs were still good for this 
season, and when they should go he was intelligent and 


experienced enough to keep regularly employed for a long 
time. The difference would be that when his speed of foot 
wouM be gone he would always be frightened where now 
he was assured and calm in the ring and out of it. , 

On this evening every one had left the dining-room except 
the hawk-faeed picador who drank too much, the birth- 
marked-faced auctioneer of watches at the fairs and festivals 
of Spain, who also drank too much, and two priests from 
Galicia who were sitting at a corner table and drinking if 
not too much certainly enough. At that time wine was 
included in the price of the room and board at the Luarca, 
and the waiters had just brought fresh bottles of Valdcpefias 
to the tables of the auctioneer, then to the picador and, 
finally, to the two priests. 

The three waiters stood at the end of the room. It was the 
rule of the house that they should all remain on duty until the 
diners whose tables they were responsible for should all have 
left, but the one who served the table of the two priests had an 
appointment to go to an Anarcho-Syndicalist meeting and 
Paco had agreed to take over his table for him. 

Upstairs the matador who was ill was lying face down on 
his bed alone. The matador who was no longer a novelty 
was sitting looking out of his window preparatory to walking 
out to the cafe. The matador who was a coward had the 
older sister of Paco in his room with him and was trying to 
get her to do something which she was laughingly refusing 
to do. This matador was saying 'Gome on, little savage.' 

'No,' said the sister. 'Why should I?' 

Tor a favour.' 

'You've eaten and now you want me for dessert.' 

'Just once. What harm can it do?' 

'Leave me alone. Leave me alone, I tell you.' 

'It is a very little thing to do.' 

'Leave me alone, I tell you.' 

Down in the dining-room the tallest of the waiters, who was 
overdue at the meeting, said, 'Look at those black pigs drink.' 


'That's no way to speak/ said the second waiter. 'They 
are decent clients. They do not drink too much.' 

Tor me it is a good way to speak,' said the tall one. 'There 
arc the two curses of Spain, the bulls and the priests.' 

'Certainly not the individual bull and the individual 
priest,' said the second waiter. * 

'Yes,' said the tall waiter. 'Only through the individual 
can you attack the class. It is necessary to kill the individual 
bull and the individual priest. All of them. Then there are 
no more.' 

'Save it for the meeting,' said the other waiter. 

'Look at the barbarity of Madrid,' said the tall waiter. 'It 
is now half-past eleven o'clock and these are still guzzling. 3 

'They only started to eat at ten,' said the other waiter. 'As 
you know there are many dishes. That wine is cheap and 
these have paid for it. It is not a strong wine.' 

'How can there be solidarity of workers with fools like you?' 
asked the tall waiter. 

'Look,' said the second waiter who was a man of fifty. 'I 
have worked all my life. In all that remains of my life I must 
work. I have no complaints against work. To work is normal.' 

'Yes, but the lack of work kills.' 

'I have always worked,' said the 'older waiter. 'Go on to 
the meeting. There is no necessity to stay.' 

'You are a good comrade,' said the tall waiter. 'But you 
lack all ideology.' 

'Mejor si me falta eso que el otroj said the older waiter 
(meaning it is better to lack that than work). 'Go on to the 

Paco had said nothing. He did not yet understand politics 
but it always gave him a thrill to hear the tall waiter speak of 
the necessity for killing the priests and the Guardia Civil. 
The tall waiter represented to him revolution and revolution 
also was romantic. He himself would like to be a good 
catholic, a revolutionary, and have a steady job like this, 
while, at the same time, being a bull fighter. 


'Go on to the meeting, Ignacio/ he said. 'I will respond for 

'Tne two of us/ said the older waiter. 

'There isn't enough for one/ said Paco. 'Go on to tfie 

'Pues, me voy, said the tall waiter. 'And thanks.' 

In the meantime, upstairs, the sister of Paco had gotten out 
of the embrace of the matador as skilfully as a wrestler 
breaking a hold and said, now angry, 'These are the hungry 
people. A failed bull fighter. With your ton-load of fear. If 
you have so much of that, use it in the ring.' 

'That is the way a whore talks.' 

'A whore is also a woman, but I am not a whore.' 

'You'll be one.' 

'Not through you.' 

'Leave me,' said the matador who, now, repulsed and 
refused, felt the nakedness of his cowardice returning. 

'Leave you? What hasn't left you?' said the sister. 'Don't 
you want me to make up the bed? I'm paid to do that.' 

'Leave me,' said the matador, his broad good-looking face 
wrinkled into a contortion that was like crying. 'You whore. 
You dirty little whore.' 

'Matador,' she said, shutting the door. 'My matador.' 

Inside the room the matador sat on the bed. His face still 
had the contortion which, in the ring, he made into a 
constant smile which frightened those people in the first 
rows of seats who knew what they were watching. 'And this/ 
he was saying aloud. 'And this. And this.' 

He could remember when he had been good and it had 
only been three years before. He could remember the weight 
of the heavy gold-brocaded fighting jacket on his shoulders 
on that hot afternoon in May when his voice had still been 
the same in the ring as in the cafe, and how he sighted along 
the point-dipping blade at the place in the top of the 
shoulders where it was dusty in the short-haired black hump 
of muscle above the wide, wood-knocking, splintered-tipped 


horns that lowered as he went in to kill, and how the sword 
pushed in as easy as into a mound of stiff butter with the palm 
of his hand pushing the pommel, his left arm crossed low, his 
left shoulder forward, his weight on his left leg, and then his 
weight wasn't on his leg. His weight was on his lower belly 
and as the bull raised his head the horn wa$ out of sight 
in him and he swung over on it twice before they pulled 
him off it. So now when he went in to kill, and it was 
seldom, he could not look at the horns and what did 
any whore know about what he went through before he 
fought? And what had they been through that laughed 
at him? They were all whores and they knew what they 
could do with it. 

Down in the dining-room the picador sat looking at the 
priests. If there were women in the room he stared at them. 
If there were no women he would stare with enjoyment at a 
foreigner, un ingles, but lacking women or strangers, he now 
stared with enjoyment and insolence at the two priests. 
While he stared the birth-marked auctioneer rose and folding 
his napkin went out, leaving over half the wine in the last 
bottle he had ordered. If his accounts had been paid up at 
the Luarca he would have finished the bottle. 

The two priests did not stare back at the picador. One of 
them was saying/It is ten days since I have been here waiting 
to see him and all day I sit in the ante-chamber and he will 
not receive me.' 

'What is there to do?' 

'Nothing. What can one do? One cannot go against 
authority. 5 

'I have been here for two weeks and nothing. I wait and 
they will not see me.' 

'We are from the abandoned country. When the money 
runs out we can return.' 

'To the abandoned country. What does Madrid care 
about Galicia? We are a poor province.' 

; One understands the action of our brother Basilio.' 


* Still I have no real confidence in the integrity of Basilio 

'Madrid is where one learns to understand. Madrid kills 

'If they would simply see one and refuse.' 

'No. You ftiust be broken and worn out by waiting.' 

'Well, we shall see. I can wait as well as another.' 

At this moment the picador got to his feet, walked over to 
the priests' table and stood, grey-headed and hawk-faced, 
staring at them and smiling. 

'A torero,' said one priest to the other. 

'And a good one,' said the picador and walked out of the 
dining-room, grey-jacketed, trim-waistcd, bow-legged, in 
tight breeches over his high-heeled cattleman's boots that 
clicked on the floor as he swaggered quite steadily, smiling to 
himself. He lived in a small, tight, professional world of 
personal efficiency, nightly alcoholic triumph, and insolence. 
Now he lit a cigar and tilting his hat at an angle in the 
hallway went out to the cafe. 

The priests left immediately after the picador, hurriedly 
conscious of being the last people in the dining-room, and 
there was no one in the room now but Paco and the middle- 
aged waiter. They cleared the tables and carried the 
bottles into the kitchen. 

In the kitchen was the boy who washed the dishes. He was 
three years older than Paco and was very cynical and bitter. 

'Take this,' the middle-aged waiter said, and poured out 
a glass of the Valdepefias and handed it to him. 

'Why not?' the boy took the glass. 

'Tu, Paco?' the older waiter asked. 

'Thank you,' said Paco. The three of them drank. 

'I will be going,' said the middle-aged waiter. 

'Good night,' they told him. 

He went out and they were alone. Paco took a napkin one 
of the priests had used and standing straight, his heels 
planted, lowered the napkin and with head following the 


movement, swung his arms in the motion of a slow sweeping 
veronica. He turned and advancing his right foot slightly, 
made the second pass, gained a little terrain on the imaginary 
bull and made a third pass, slow, perfectly timed and suave, 
then gathered the napkin to his waist and swung his hips 
away from the bull in a media-veronica. 

The dishwasher, whose name was Enrique, watched him 
critically and snecringly. 

'How is the bull?' he said. 

'Very brave/ said Paco. 'Look.' 

Standing slim and straight he made four more perfect 
passes, smooth, elegant and graceful. 

'And the bull?' asked Enrique standing against the sink, 
holding his wine glass and wearing his apron. 

'Still has lots of gas,' said Paco. 

'You make me sick, 5 said Enrique. 



Enrique removed his apron and citing the imaginary bull 
he sculptured four perfect, languid gypsy veronicas and 
ended up with a rebolera that made the apron swing in a 
stiff arc past the bull's nose as he walked away from him. 

'Look at that/ he said. 'And I wash dishes.' 


'Fear,' said Enrique. 'Miedo. The same fear you would 
have in a ring with a bull.' 

'No,' said Paco. 'I wouldn't be afraid.' 

'LecheT said Enrique. 'Everyone is afraid. But a torero 
can control his fear so that he can work the bull. I went in 
an amateur fight and I was so afraid I couldn't keep from 
running. Every one thought it was very funny. So would 
you be afraid. If it wasn't for fear every bootblack in Spain 
would be a bull fighter. You, a country boy, would be 
frightened worse than I was.' 

'No, 5 said Paco. 

He had done it too many times in his imagination. Too 


many times he 'had seen the horns, seen the bull's wet muzzle, 
the ear twitching, then the head go down and the charge, the 
hoofs \hudding and the hot bull pass him as he swung the 
cape, to re-charge as he swung the cape again, then agaiy, 
and again, and again, to end winding the bull around him 
in his great media- veronica, and walk swingingly away, with 
bull hairs caught in the gold ornaments of his jacket from 
the close passes; the bull standing hypnotized and tlje crowd 
applauding. No, he would not be afraid. Others, yes. Not 
he. He knew he would not be afraid. Even if he ever was 
afraid he knew that he could do it anyway. He had con- 
fidence. 'I wouldn't be afraid,' he said. 
Enrique said, 'Leche* again. 
Then he said, 'If we should try it?' 

'Look,' said Enrique. 'You think of the bull but you do 
not think of the horns. The bull has such force that the 
horns rip like a knife, they stab like a bayonet, and they kill 
like a club. Look,' he opened a table drawer and took out 
two meat knives. 'I will bind these to the legs of a chair. 
Then I will play bull for you with the chair held before my 
head. The knives are the horns. If you make those passes 
then they mean something.' 

'Lend me your apron,' said Paco. 'We'll do it in the 

'No,' said Enrique, suddenly not bitter. 'Don't do it, 

'Yes,' said Paco. 'I'm not afraid.' 
'You will be when you see the knives come.' 
'We'll see, 3 said Paco. 'Give me the apron.' 
At this time, while Enrique was binding the two heavy- 
bladed razor-sharp meat knives fast to the legs of the chair 
with two soiled napkins holding the half of each knife, wrap- 
ping them tight and then knotting them, the two chamber- 
maids, Paco's sisters, were on their way to the cinema to see 
Greta Garbo in c Anna Christie'. Of the two priests, one was 


sitting in his underwear reading his breviary and the other 
was wearing a nightshirt and saying the rosary. All the 
bull fighters except the one who was ill had made- their 
eyening appearance at the Cafe Fornos, where the big, 
dark-haired picador was playing billiards, the short, serious 
matador was sitting at a crowded table before a coffee and 
milk, along with the middle-aged banderillero and other 
serious workmen. 

The drinking, grey-headed picador was sitting with a glass 
of cazalas brandy before him staring with pleasure at a 
table where the matador whose courage was gone sat with 
another matador who had renounced the sword to become a 
banderillero again, and two very houseworn-looking 

The auctioneer stood on the street corner talking with 
friends. The tall waiter was at the Anarcho-Syndicalist 
meeting waiting for an opportunity to speak. The middle- 
aged waiter was seated on the terrace of the Cafe Alvarez 
drinking a small beer. The woman who owned the Luarca 
was already asleep in her bed, where she lay on her back 
with the bolster between her legs; big, fat, honest, clean, 
easy-going, very religious and never having ceased to miss or 
pray daily for her husband, dead, now, twenty years. In 
his room, alone, the matador who was ill lay face down on 
his bed with his mouth against a handkerchief. 

Now, in the deserted dining-room, Enrique tied the last 
knot in the napkins that bound the knives to the chair legs 
and lifted the chair. He pointed the legs with the knives on 
them forward and held the chair over his head with the 
two knives pointing straight ahead, one on each side of his 

'It's heavy, 5 he said. 'Look, Paco. It is very dangerous. 
Don't do it.' He was sweating. 

Paco stood facing him, holding the apron spread, holding 
a fold of it bunched in each hand, thumbs up, first finger 
down, spread to catch the eye of the bull. 

THE LD 55 

'Charge straight/ he said. 'Turn like a Dull. Charge as 
many times as you want/ 

'H\)w will you know when to cut the pass?' asked Enrique. 
'It's better to do three and then a media.' 

'All right/ said Paco. 'But come straight. Huh, torito! 
Come on, littje bull!' 

Running with head down Enrique came toward him and 
Paco swung the apron just ahead of the knife blade as it passed 
close in front of his belly and as it went by it was, to him, the 
real horn, white-tipped, black, smooth, and as Enrique 
passed him and turned to rush again it was the hot, blood- 
flanked mass of the bull that thudded by, then turned like 
a cat and came again as he swung the cape slowly. Then the 
bull turned and came again and, as he watched the onrushing 
point, he stepped his left foot two inches too far forward 
and the knife did not pass, but had slipped in as easily as 
into a wineskin and there was a hot scalding rush above and 
around the sudden inner rigidity of steel and Enrique 
shouting. 'Ay! Ay! Let me get it out! Let me get it out!' 
and Paco slipped forward on the chair the apron cape still 
held, Enrique pulling QR the chair as thejknife turned in 
him, in him, Paco. 

The knife was out no\V and he sat on the floor' in tne widen- 
ing warm pool. 

'Put the napkin over it. Hold it!' said Enrique. 'Hold it 
tight. I will run for the doctor. You must hold in the 

'There should be a rubber cup,' said Paco. He had seen 
that used in the ring. 

'I came straight,' said Enrique, crying. 'All I wanted was 
to show the danger.' 

'Don't worry,' said Paco, his voice sounding far away. 
'But bring the doctor.' 

In the ring they lifted you and carried you, running with 
you, to the operating room. If the femoral artery emptied 
itself before you reached there they called the priest. 

5 6 TH. 

'Advise one of the priests,' said Paco, holding the napkin 
tight against his lower abdomen. He could not believe that 
this had happened to him. 

Put Enrique was running down the Carrera San Jeromino 
to the all-night first-aid station and Paco was alone, first 
sitting up, then huddled over, then slumped en the floor, 
until it was over, feeling his life go out of him as dirty water 
empties from a bathtub when the plug is drawn. He was 
frightened and he felt faint and he tried to say an act of 
contrition and he remembered how it started but before he 
had said, as fast as he could, 'Oh, my God, I am heartily 
sorry for having offended Thee who art worthy of all my 
love and I firmly resolve . . .' he felt too faint and he was 
lying face down on the floor and it was over very quickly. 
A severed femoral artery empties itself faster than you can 

As the doctor from the first-aid station came up the stairs 
accompanied by a policeman who held on to Enrique by the 
arm, the two sisters of Paco were still in the moving-picture 
palace of the Gran Via, where they were intensely dis- 
appointed in the Garbo film, which showed the great star in 
miserable low surroundings when they had been accustomed 
to see her surrounded by great luxury and brilliance. The 
audience disliked the film thoroughly and were protesting 
by whistling and stamping their feet. All the other people 
from the hotel were doing almost what they had been doing 
when the accident happened, except that the two priests 
had finished their devotions and were preparing for sleep, 
and the grey-haired picador had moved his drink over to 
the table with the two houseworn prostitutes. A little later 
he went out of the cafe with one of them. It was the one for 
whom the matador who had lost his nerve had been buying 

The boy Paco had never known about any of this nor 
about what all these people would be doing on the next day 
and on other days to come. He had no idea how they really 


lived nor how they ended. He did not even realize they 
ended. He died, as the Spanish phrase has it, full of illu- 
sions^ 1 He had not had time in his life to lose any of them, 
nor even, at the end, to complete an act of contrition. 

He had not even had time to be disappointed in tjie Garbo 
picture which disappointed all Madrid for a week. 

Kilimanjaro is a snow covered mountain igjiofeet high, and is said 
to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called 
the Masai 'Ngqje Ngai\ the House of God. Close to the western 
summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. Mo one 
has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude. 


'THE marvellous thing is that it's painless/ he said. 'That's 
how you know when it starts.' 

'Is it really?' 

'Absolutely. I'm awfully sorry about the odour, though. 
That must bother you.' 

'Don't! Please don't.' 

'Look at them/ he said. 'Now is it sight or is it scent that 
brings them like that?' 

The cot the man lay on was in the wide shade of a mimosa 
tree and as he looked out past the shade on to the glare of the 
plain there were three of the big birds squatted obscenely, 
while in the sky a dozen more sailed, making quick-moving 
shadows as they passed. 

'They've been there since the day the truck broke down/ 
he said. 'To-day's the first time any have lit on the ground. 
I watched the way they sailed very carefully at first in case 
I ever wanted to use them in a story. That's funny now.' 

'I wish you wouldn't/ she said. 

'I'm only talking/ he said. 'It's much easier if I talk. But 
I don't want to bother you.' 

'You know it doesn't bother me/ she said. 'It's that I've 
gotten so very nervous not being able to do anything. I 
think we might make it as easy as we can until the plane 

'Or until the plane doesn't come.' 

'Please tell me what I can do. There must be something 
I can do/ 



'You can take the leg off and that might stop it, though I 
doubt it. Or you can shoot me. You're a good shot now. 
I taftght you to shoot, didn't I?' 

'Please don't talk that way. Couldn't I read to you?' 

'Read what? 3 

'Anythingin the book bag that we haven't read.' 

'I can't listen to it,' he said. 'Talking is the easiest. We 
quarrel and that makes the time pass. 5 

'I don't quarrel. I never want to quarrel. Let's not 
quarrel any more. No matter how nervous we get. Maybe 
they will be back with another truck to-day. Maybe the 
plane will come.' 

'I don't want to move,' the man said. 'There is no sense in 
moving now except to make it easier for you. 5 

'That's cowardly.' 

'Can't you let a man die as comfortably as he can without 
calling him names? What's the use of slanging me?' 

'You're not going to die. 5 

'Don't be silly. I'm dying now. Ask those bastards.' He 
looked over to where the huge, filthy birds sat, their naked 
heads sunk in the hunched feathers. A fourth planed down 
to run quick-legged and then waddle slowly toward the 

'They are around every camp. You never notice them. 
You can't die if you don't give up.' 

'Where did you read that? You're such a bloody fool. 5 

'You might think about someone else.' 

'For Christ's sake, 5 he said. 'That's been my trade. 5 

He lay then and was quiet for a while and looked across 
the heat shimmer of the plain to the edge of the bush. There 
were a few Tommies that showed minute and white against 
the yellow and, far off, he saw a herd of zebra, white against 
the green of the bush. This was a pleasant camp under big 
trees against a hill, with good water, and close by, a nearly 
dry water hole where sand grouse flighted in the mornings. 

'Wouldn't you like me to read? 5 she asked. She was sitting 


on a canvas chair beside his cot. 'There's a breeze coming 

'No thanks.' 

'Maybe the truck will come.' 

'I don't give a damn about the truck.' 

'I do. 5 

'You give a damn about so many things that I dc^'+ ' 

'Not so many, Harry.' 

'What about a drink?' 

'It's supposed to be bad for you. It said in Black's to 
.avoid all alcohol. You shouldn't drink.' 

'Molo!' he shouted. 

'Yes, Bwana.' 

'Bring whisky-soda.' 

'Yes, Bwana.' 

'You shouldn't,' she said. 'That's what I mean by giving 
up. It says it's bad for you. I know it's bad for you.' 

'No,' he said. 'It's good for me.' 

So now it was all over, he thought. So now he would 
never have a chance to finish it. So this was the way it ended 
in a bickering over a drink. Since the gangrene started in 
his right leg he had no pain and with the pain the horror 
had gone and all he felt now was a great tiredness and anger 
that this was the end of it. For this, that now was coming, he 
had very little curiosity. For years it had obsessed him; 
but now it meant nothing in itself. It was strange how easy 
being tired enough made it. 

Now he would never write the things that he had saved to 
write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he 
would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe 
you could never write them, and that was why you put them 
off and delayed the starting. Well, he would never know, 

'I wish we'd never come,' the woman said. She was 
looking at him holding the glass and biting her lip. 'You 
never would have gotten anything like this in Paris. You 


always said you loved Paris. We could have stayed in Paris 
or gone anywhere. I'd have gone anywhere. I said I'd 
go anywhere you wanted. If you wanted to shoot we could 
have gone shooting in Hungary and been comfortable.' 

'Your bloody money,' he said. 

'That's noffair,' she said. 'It was always yours as much as 
mine. I left everything and I went wherever you wanted to 
go and I've done what you wanted to do. But I wish we'd 
never come here.' 

'You said you loved it.' 

'I did when you were all right. But now I hate it. I don't 
see why that had to happen to your leg. What have we done 
to have that happen to us?' 

'I suppose what I did was to forget to put iodine on it 
when I first scratched it. Then I didn't pay any attention to 
it because I never infect. Then, later, when it got bad, it was 
probably using that weak carbolic solution when the other 
antiseptics ran out that paralysed the minute blood vessels 
and started the gangrene.' He looked at her, 'What else?' 

'I don't mean that.' 

'If we could have hired a good mechanic instead of a half- 
baked kikuyu driver, he would have checked the oil and 
never burned out that bearing in the truck.' 

'I don't mean that.' 

'If you hadn't left your own people, your goddamned Old 
Westbury, Saratoga, Palm Beach people to take me on-'. 

'Why, I loved you. That's not fair. I love you now. I'll 
always love you. Don't you love me?' 

'No,' said the man. 'I don't think so. I never have.' 

'Harry, what are you saying? You're out of your head.' 

'No. I haven't any head to go out of.' 

'Don't drink that,' she said. 'Darling, please don't drink 
that. We have to do everything we can.' 

'You do it,' he said. 'I'm tired.' 

Mow in his mind he saw a railway station at Karagatch and he 


was standing with his pack and that was the headlight of the 
Simplon- Orient cutting the dark now and he was leaving Thrace then 
after the retreat. That was one of the things he had saved to write., 
wtth, in the morning at breakfast ', looking out the window and seeing 
snow on the mountains in Bulgaria and Nanseris Secretary asking 
the old man if it were snow and the old man looking dt it and saying, 
JV0, thafs not snow. Ifs too early for snow. And the Secretary 
repeating to the other girls, No, you see. Ifs not snow and them all 
saying, Ifs not snow, we were mistaken. But it was the snow all 
right and he sent them on into it when he evolved exchange of popula- 
tions. And it was snow they tramped along in until they died that 

It was snow too that fell all Christmas week that year up in the 
Gauertal, that year they lived in the woodcutter's house with the big 
square porcelain stove that filled half the room, and they slept on 
mattresses filled with beech leaves, the time the deserter came with his 
feet bloody in the snow. He said the police were right behind him and 
they gave him woollen socks and held the gendarmes talking until the 
tracks had drifted over. 

In Schrunz, on Christmas day, the snow was so bright it hurt 
your eyes when you looked out from the weinstube and saw everyone 
coming home from church. That was where they walked up the 
sleigh-smoothed urine-yellowed road along the river with the steep 
pine hills, skis heavy on the shoulder, and where they ran that great 
run down the glacier above the Madlener-fyaus y the snow as smooth 
to see as cake frosting and as light as pdiwfev^nd he remembered 
the noiseless rush the speed made as you dropped dbwn like a bird. 

They were snow-bound a week in the Madlener-haus that time in 
the blizzard playing cards in the smoke by the lantern light and the 
stakes were higher all the time as Hen Lent lost more. Finally he 
lost it all. Everything, the skischule money and all the season's 
profit and then his capital. He could see him with his long nose, 
picking up the cards and then opening, 'Sans Voir\ There was always 
gambling then. When there was no snow you gambled and when there 
was too much you gambled. He thought of all the time in his life he 
had spent gambling. 


But he had 'never written a line of that, nor of that cold, bright 
Christmas day with the mountains showing across the plain that 
Johnson had flown across the lines to bomb the Austrian officers' leave 
train, machine-gunning them as they scattered and ran. He rerr&m- 
bered Johnson afterwards coming into the mess and starting to tell 
about it. Arid how quiet it got and then somebody saying, 'You 
bloody murderous bastard!'' 

Those were the same Austrians they killed then that he skied with 
later. No, not the same. Hans, that he skied with all that year, had 
been in the Kaiser-Jdgers and when they went hunting hares together 
up the little valley above the saw-mill they had talked of the fighting 
on Pasubio and of the attack on Pertica and Asalone and he had 
never written a word of that. Nor of Monte Corno, nor the Siete 
Commum, nor of Arsiedo. 

How many winters had he lived in the Voralberg and the Arlberg? 
It was four and then he remembered the man who had the fox to sell 
when they had walked into Bludenz, that time to buy presents, and 
the cherry pip taste of good kirsch, the fast-slipping rush of running 
powder-snow on crust, singing 'Hi! Ho! said Roily T as you ran 
down the last stretch to the steel drop, taking it straight, then running 
the orchard in three turns and out across the ditch and on to the icy 
road behind the inn. Knocking your bindings loose, kicking the skis 
free and leaning them up against the wooden wall of the inn, the 
lamplight' coming from the window, where inside, in the smoky, 
new-wine smelling warmth, they were playing the accordion. 

'Where did we stay in Paris? 3 he asked the woman who was 
sitting by him in a canvas chair, now, in Africa. 

'At the Crillon. You know that.' 

'Why do I know that?' 

'That's where we always stayed.' 

'No. Not always.' 

'There and at the Pavilion Henri-Quatre in St. Germain. 
You said you loved it there.' 

'Love is a dunghill/ said Harry. 'And I'm the cock that 
gets on it to crow.' 


'If you have to go away/ she said, 'is it absolutely necessary 
to kill off everything you leave behind? I mean do you have 
to take away everything? Do you have to kill your horse, 
aiYd your wife and burn your saddle and your armour? 5 

'Yes/ be said. 'Your damned money was my armour. My 
Swift and my Armour.' 


'All right. I'll stop that. I don't want to hurt you.' 

'It's a little bit late now.' 

'All right then. I'll go on hurting you. It's more amusing. 
The only thing I ever really liked to do with you I can't do 

'No, that's not true. You liked to do many things and 
everything you wanted to do I did.' 

'Oh, for Christ sake stop bragging, will you?' 

He looked at her and saw her crying. 

'Listen,' he said. 'Do you think that it is fun to do this? I 
don't know why I'm doing it. It's trying to kill to keep your- 
self alive, I imagine. I was all right when we started talking. 
I didn't mean to start this, and now I'm crazy as a coot and 
being as cruel to you as I can be. Don't pay any attention, 
darling, to what I say. I love you, really. You know I love 
you. I've never loved anyone else the way I love you. 5 

He slipped into the familiar lie he made his bread and 
butter by. 

'You're sweet to me.' 

'You bitch,' he said. 'You rich bitch. That's poetry. I'm 
full of poetry now. Rot and poetry. Rotten poetry.' 

'Stop it. Harry, why do you have to turn into a devil 

'I don't like to leave anything,' the man said. 'I don't like 
to leave things behind.' 

It was evening now and he had been asleep. The sun was 
gone behind the hill and there was a shadow all across the 
plain and the small animals were feeding close to camp; 


quick dropping heads and switching tails, he watched them 
keeping well out away from the bush now. The birds no 
longer waited on the ground. They were all perched heavily 
in a tree. There were many more of them. His personal 
boy was sitting by the bed. 

'Memsahib*s gone to shoot, 3 the boy said. 'Does Bwana 
want? 5 


She had gone to kill a piece of meat and, knowing how he 
liked to watch the game, she had gone well away so she 
would not disturb this little pocket of the plain that he could 
see. She was always thoughtful, he thought. On anything 
she knew about, or had read, or that she had ever heard. 

It was not her fault that when he went to her he was 
already over. How could a woman know that you meant 
nothing that you said; that you spoke only from habit and 
to be comfortable? After he no longer meant what he said, 
his lies were more successful with women than when he had 
told them the truth. 

It was not so much that he lied as that there was no truth 
to tell. He had had his life and it was over and then he 
went on living it again with different people and more 
money, with the best of the same places, and some new ones. 

You kept from thinking and it was all marvellous. You 
\vere equipped with good insides so that you did not go to 
pieces that way, the way most of them had, and you made an 
attitude that you cared nothing for the work you used to do, 
now that you could no longer do it. But, in yourself, you 
said that you would write about these people; about the 
very rich; that you were really not of them but a spy in their 
country; that you would leave it and write of it and for once 
it would be written by some one who knew what he was 
writing of. But he would never do it, because each day of not 
writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled 
his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he 
did no work at all. The people he knew now were all much 


more comfortable when he did not work. Africa was where 
he had been happiest in the good time of his life, so he had 
come out here to start again. They had made this safari 
\tfith the minimum of comfort. There was no hardship; 
but there was no luxury and he had thought that he could 
get back into training that way. That in some* way he could 
work the fat off his soul the way a fighter went into the 
mountains to work and train in order to burn it out of his 

She had liked it. She said she loved it. She loved anything 
that was exciting, that involved a change of scene, where 
there were new people and where things were pleasant. 
And he had felt the illusion of returning strength of will to 
work. Now if this was how it ended, and he knew it was, he 
must not turn like some snake biting itself because its back 
was broken. It wasn't this woman's fault. If it had not been 
she it would have been another. If he lived by a lie he 
should try to die by it. He heard a shot beyond the hill. 

She shot very well, this good, this rich bitch, this kindly 
caretaker and destroyer of his talent. Nonsense. He had 
destroyed his talent himself. Why should he blame this 
woman because she kept him well? He had destroyed his 
talent by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he 
believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge 
of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, 
by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook. What was 
this? A catalogue of old books? What was his talent any- 
way? It was a talent all right but instead of using it, he had 
traded on it. It was never what he had done, but always 
what he could do. And he had chosen to make his living with 
something else instead of a pen or a pencil. It was strange, 
tod, wasn't it, that when he fell in love with another woman, 
that woman should always have more money than the last 
one? But when he no longer was in love, when he was only 
lying, as to this woman, now, who had the most money of 
all, who had all the money that was, who had had a husband 


and children, ' who had taken lovers and been dissatisfied 
with them, and who loved him dearly as a writer, as a man, 
as a companion and as a proud possession; it was. strange 
that when he did not love her at all and was lying, that Ire 
should be able to give her more for her money thamwhen he 
had really loVed. 

We must all be cut out for what we do, he thought. How- 
ever you make your living is where your talent lies. He had 
sold vitality, in one form or another, all his life, and when 
your affections are not too involved you give much better 
value for the money. He had found that out but he would 
never write that, now, either. No, he would not write that, 
although it was well worth writing. 

Now she came in sight, walking across the open towards 
the camp. She was wearing jodhpurs and carrying her rifle. 
The two boys had a Tommie slung and they were coming 
along behind her. She was still a good-looking woman, he 
thought, and she had a pleasant body. She had a great 
talent and appreciation for the bed, she was not pretty, but 
he liked her face, she read enormously, liked to ride and 
shoot and, certainly, she drank too much. Her husband had 
died when she was still a comparatively young woman and 
for a while she had devoted herself to her two just-grown 
children, who did not need her and were embarrassed at 
having her about, to her stable of horses, to books, and to 
bottles. She liked to read in the evening before dinner and 
she drank Scotch and soda while she read. By dinner she 
was fairly drunk and after a bottle of wine at dinner she was 
usually drunk enough to sleep. 

That was before the lovers. After she had the Ipvers she 
did not drink so much because she did not have to be drunk 
to sleep. But the lovers bored her. She had been married 
to a man who had never bored her and these people bored 
her very much. 

Then one of her two children was killed in a plane crash 
and after that was over she did not want the lovers, and drink 


being no anaesthetic she had to make another life. Suddenly, 
she had been acutely frightened of being alone. But she 
wanted someone that she respected with her. 

% It had begun very simply. She liked what he wrote and 
she had always envied the life he led. She thought he did 
exactly what he wanted to. The steps by Which she had 
acquired him and the way in which she had finally fallen in 
love with him were all part of a regular progression in which 
she had built herself a new life and he had traded away what 
remained of his old life. 

He had traded it for security, for comfort too, there was no 
denying that, and for what else? He did not know. She 
would have brought him anything he wanted. He knew that. 
She was a damned nice woman too. He would as soon be in 
bed with her as anyone; rather with her, because she was 
richer, because she was very pleasant and appreciative 
and because she never made scenes. And now this life that 
she had built again was coming to a term because he had not 
used iodine two weeks ago when a thorn had scratched his 
knee as they moved forward trying to photograph a herd 
of waterbuck standing, their heads up, peering while their 
nostrils searched the air, their ears spread wide to hear the 
first noise that would send them rushing into the bush. 
They had bolted, too, before he got the picture. 

Here she came now. 

He turned his head on the cot to look toward her. 'Hello,' 
he said. 

'I shot a Tommy ram,' she told him. 'He'll make you 
good broth and I'll have them mash some potatoes with the 
Klim. How do you feel?' 

'Much better.' 

'Isn't that lovely? You know I thought perhaps you 
would. You were sleeping >vhen I left.' 

'I had a good sleep. Did you walk far? 5 

'No. Just around behind the hill. I made quite a good 
shot on the Tommy.' 


'You shoot marvellously, you know. 5 

'I love it. I've loved Africa. Really. If you're all right it's 
the most fun that I've ever had. You don't know the fun it's 
been to shoot with you. I've loved the country.' 

'I love it too.' r 

'Darling, you don't know how marvellous it is to see you 
feeling better. I couldn't stand it when you felt that way. 
You won't talk to me like that again, will you? Promise 

'No,' he said. 'I don't remember what I said.' 

'You don't have to destroy me. Do you? I'm only a 
middle-aged woman who loves you and wants to do what you 
want to do. I've been destroyed two or three times already. 
You wouldn't want to destroy me again, would you?' 

Td like to destroy you a few times in bed,' he said. 

'Yes. That's the good destruction. That's the way we're 
made to be destroyed. The plane will be here to-morrow.' 

'How do you know?' 

Tm sure. It's bound to come. The boys have the wood all 
ready and the grass to make the smudge. I went down and 
looked at it again to-day. There's plenty of room to land and 
we have the smudges ready at both ends.' 

'What makes you think it will come to-morrow?' 

'I'm sure it will. It's overdue now. Then, in town, they 
will fix up your leg and then we will have some good 
destruction. Not that dreadful talking kind.' 

'Should we have a drink? The sun is down.' 

'Do you think you should?' 

Tm having one.' 

'We'll have one together. Molo, letti dui whisky-soda!' she 

'You'd better put on your mosquito boots,' he told her. 

Til wait till I bathe . . .' 

While it grew dark they drank and just before it was dark 
and there was no longer enough light to shoot, a hyena 
crossed the open on his way around the hill. 


'That bastard crosses there every night/ the man said. 
'Every night for two weeks/ 

'He's the one makes the noise at night. I don't mind it. 
They're a filthy animal though.' 

Drinking together, with no pain now except the discomfort 
of lying in the one position, the boys lighting a fire, its 
shadow jumping on the tents, he could feel the return of 
acquiescence in this life of pleasant surrender. She was very 
good to him. He had been cruel and unjust in the afternoon. 
She was a fine woman, marvellous really. And just then it 
occurred to him that he was going to die. 

It came with a rush; not as a rush of water nor of wind; but 
of a sudden evil-smelling emptiness and the odd thing was 
that the hyena slipped lightly along the edge of it. 

'What is it, Harry?' she asked him. 

'Nothing,' he said. 'You had better move over to the 
other side. To windward.' 

'Did Molo change the dressing?' 

'Yes. I'm just using the boric now.' 

'How do you feel?' 

'A little wobbly.' 

'I'm going in to bathe,' she said. Til be right out. I'll eat 
with you and then we'll put the cot in.' 

So, he said to himself, we did well to stop the quarrelling. 
He had never quarrelled much with this woman, while with 
the women that he loved he had quarrelled so much they had 
finally, always, with the corrosion of the quarrelling, killed 
what they had together. He had loved too much, demanded 
too much, and he wore it all out. 

He thought about alone in Constantinople that time, having 
quarrelled in Paris before he had gone out. He had whored the whole 
time and then, when that was over, and he had failed to kill his 
loneliness, but only made it worse, he had written her, the first one, 
tht one who left him, a letter telling her how he had never been able 
to kill it . . . How when he thought he saw her outside the Regence 


one time it made him go all faint and sick inside, and that he would 
follow a woman who looked like her in some way, along the Boulevard, 
afraid to see it was not she, afraid to lose the feeling it gave him. 
How everyone he had slept with had only made him miss her mofe. 
How what she had done could never matter since he knew he could 
not cure himself of loving her. He wrote this letter at the Club, cold 
sober, and mailed it to New York asking her to write him at the 
office in Paris. That seemed safe. And that night missing her so 
much it made him feel hollow sick inside, he wandered up past 
Taxings, picked a girl up and took her out to supper. He had gone 
to a place to dance with her afterwards, she danced badly, and left 
her for a hot Armenian slut, that swung her belly against him so it 
almost scalded. He took her away from a British gunner subaltern 
after a row. The gunner asked him outside and they fought in the 
street on the cobbles in the dark. He'd hit him twice, hard, on the 
side of the jaw and when he didn't go down he knew he was in for a 
fight. The gunner hit him in the body, then beside his eye. He swung 
with his left again and landed and the gunner fell on him and 
grabbed his coat and tore the sleeve off and he clubbed him twice 
behind the ear and then smashed him with his right as he pushed him 
away. When the gunner went down his head hit first and he ran 
with the girl because they heard the M.P.s coming. They got into a 
taxi and drove out to Rimmily Hissa along the Bosphorus, and 
around, and back in the cool night and went to bed and she felt as 
over-ripe as she looked but smooth, rose-petal, syrupy, smooth- 
bellied, big-breasted and needed no pillow under her buttocks, and he 
left her before she was awake looking blousy enough in the fast 
daylight and turned up at the Pera Palace with a black eye, carrying 
his coat because one sleeve was missing. 

That same night he left for Anatolia and he remembered, later on 
that trip, riding all day through fields of the poppies that they raised 
for opium and how strange it made you feel, finally, and all the 
distances seemed wrong, to where they had made the attack with the 
newly-arrived Constantine officers, that did not know a god-damned 
thing, and the artillery had fired into the troops and the British 
observer had cried like a child. 


That was the day he'd first seen dead men wearing white ballet 
skirts and upturned shoes with pompoms on them. The Turks had 
come steadily and lumpily and he had seen the skirted men running 
and the officers shooting into them and running then themselves and 
he and the British observer had run too until his lungs ached and his 
mouth was full of the taste of pennies and they stopped behind some 
rocks and there were the Turks coming as lumpily as ever. Later 
he had seen the things that he could never think of and later still he 
had seen, much worse. So when he got back to Paris that time he 
could not talk about it or stand to have it mentioned. And there in the 
cafe as he passed was that American poet with a pile of saucers in 
front of him and a stupid look on his potato face talking about the 
Dada movement with a Roumanian who said his name was Tristan 
Tzarti, who always wore a monocle and had a headache, and, back 
at the apartment with his wife that now he loved again, the quarrel 
all over, the madness all over, glad to be home, the office sent his 
mail up to the flat. So then the letter in answer to the one he'd written 
came in on a platter one morning and when he saw the hand-writing 
he went cold all over and tried to slip the letter underneath another. 
But his wife said, 'Who is that letter from, dear?' and that was the 
end of the beginning of that. 

He remembered the good times with them all, and the quarrels. 
They always picked the finest places to have the quarrels. And why 
had they always quarrelled when he was feeling best? He had never 
written any of that because, at first, he never wanted to hurt anyone 
and then it seemed as though there was enough to write without it. 
But he had always thought that he would write it finally. There was 
so much to write. He had seen the world change; not just the events; 
although he had seen many of them and had watched the people, but 
he had seen the subtler change and he could remember how the people 
were at different times. He had been in it and he had watched it and it 
was his duty to write of it; but now he never would. 

'How do you feel?' she said. She had come out from the 
tent now after her bath. 
'All right.' 


'Gould you eat now?' He saw Molo behind her with the 
folding table and the other boy with the dishes. 

'I want to write,' he said. 

'You ought to take some broth to keep your strength up.i , 

'I'm going to die to-night,' he said. 'I don't need my 
strength up.' 

'Don't be melodramatic, Harry, please/ she said. 

'Why don't you use your nose? I'm rotted half-way up my 
thigh now. What the hell should I fool with broth for? 
Molo, bring whisky-soda.' 

'Please take the broth,' she said gently. 

'All right.' 

The broth was too hot. He had to hold it in the cup until it 
cooled enough to take it and then he just got it down without 

'You're a fine woman,' he said. 'Don't pay any attention 
to me.' 

She looked at him with her well-known, well-loved face 
from Spur and Town and Country, only a little the worse for 
drink, only a little the worse for bed, but Town and Country 
never showed those good breasts and those useful thighs and 
those lightly small-of-back caressing hands, and as he looked 
and saw her well-known pleasant smile, he felt death come 
again. This time there was no rush. It was a puff, as of a 
wind that makes a candle flicker and the flame go tall. 

'They can bring my net out later and hang it from the tree 
and build the fire up. I'm not going in the tent to-night. 
It's not worth moving. It's a clear night. There won't be 
any rain.' 

So this was how you died, in whispers that you did not 
hear. Well, there would be no more quarrelling. He 
could promise that. The one experience that he had never 
had he was not going to spoil now. He probably would. 
You spoiled everything. But perhaps he wouldn't. 

'You can't take dictation, can you?' 

'I never learned,' she told him. 


That's all right.' 

There wasn't time, of course, although it seemed as though 
it telescoped so that you might put it all into one paragraph if 
you could get it right. 

There was a log house, chinked white with mortar^ on a hill above 
the lake. There was a bell on a pole by the door to call the people 
in to meals. Behind the house were fields and behind the fields was 
the timber. A line of lombardy poplars ran from the house to the 
dock. Other poplars ran along the point. A road went up to the hills 
along the edge of the timber and along that road he picked black- 
berries. Then that log house was burned down and all the guns 
that had been on deer foot racks above the open fire place were burned 
and afterwards their barrels, with the lead melted in the magazines, 
and the stocks burned away, lay out on the heap of ashes that were 
used to make lye for the big iron soap kettles, and you asked Grand- 
father if you could have them to play with, and he said, no. Ton 
see they were his guns still and he never bought any others. JVbr did 
he hunt any more. The house was rebuilt in the same place out of 
lumber now and painted white and from its porch you saw the 
poplars and the lake beyond; but there were never any more guns. 
The barrels of the guns that had hung on the deer feet on the wall 
of the log house lay out there on the heap of ashes and no one ever 
touched them. 

In the Black Forest, after the war, we rented a trout stream and 
there were two ways to walk to it. One was down the valley from 
Triberg and around the valley road in the shade of the trees that 
bordered the white road, and then up a side road that went up 
through the hills, past many small farms, with the big Schwarzwald 
houses, until that road crossed the stream. That was where our 
fishing began. 

The other way was to climb steeply up to the edge of the woods and 
then go across the top of the hills through the pine woods, and then out 
to the edge of a meadow and down across this meadow to the bridge. 
There were birches along the stream and it was not big, but narrow, 
clear and fast, with pools where it had cut under the roots of the 


birches. At the Hotel in Triberg the proprietor had a fine season. 
It was very pleasant and we were all great friends. The next year 
came the inflation and the money he had made the year before was not 
enough to buy supplies to open the hotel and he hanged himself. 

You could dictate that, but you could not dictate the Place Contre- 
scarpe where the flower sellers dyed their flowers in the street and the 
dye ran over the paving where the autobus started and the old men 
and the women, always drunk on wine and bad marc; and the children 
with their noses running in the cold; the smell of dirty sweat and 
poverty and drunkenness at the Cafe des Amateurs and the whores 
at the Bal Musette they lived above. The Concierge who entertained 
the trooper of the Garde Republicaine in her loge, his horse-hair- 
plumed helmet on a chair. The locataire across the hall whose 
husband was a bicycle racer and her joy that morning at the Cremerie 
when she had opened L'Auto and seen where he placed third in 
Paris-Tours, his first big race. She had blushed and laughed and 
then gone upstairs crying with the yellow sporting paper in her hand. 
The husband of the woman who ran the Bal Musette drove a taxi 
and when he, Harry, had to take an early plane the husband knocked 
upon the door to wake him and they each drank a glass of white wine 
at the zinc of the bar before they started. He knew his neighbours 
in that quarter then because they all were poor. 

Around that Place there were two kinds: the drunkards and the 
sportifs. The drunkards killed their poverty that way; the sportifs 
took it out in exercise. They were the descendants of the Com- 
munards and it was no struggle for them to know their politics. 
They knew who had shot their fathers, their relatives, their brothers, 
and their friends when the Versailles troops came in and took the 
town after the Commune and executed anyone they could catch with 
calloused hands, or who wore a cap, or carried any other sign he was 
a working man. And in that poverty, and in that quarter across the 
street from a Boucherie Chevaline and a wine-co-operative he had 
written the start of all he was to do. There never was another part 
of Paris that he loved like that, the sprawling trees, the old white 
plastered houses painted brown below, the long green of the autobus 
in that round square, the purple flower dye upon the paving, the 


sudden drop down the hill of the rue Cardinal Lemoine to the River, 
and the other way the narrow crowded world of the rue Mouffetard. 
The street that ran up toward the Pantheon and the other that he 
always took with the bicycle, the only asphalted street in all that 
quarter, smooth under the tyres, with the high narrow houses and the 
cheap tall ~hotel where Paul Verlaine had died. There were only two 
rooms in the apartments where they lived and he had a room on the 
top floor of that hotel that cost him sixty francs a month where he 
did his writing, and from it he could see the roofs and chimney pots 
and all the hills of Paris. 

From the apartment you could only see the wood and coal man's 
plate. He sold wine, too, bad wine. The golden horse's head 
outside the Boucherie Chevaline where the carcasses hung yellow gold 
and red in the open window, and the green painted co-operative 
where they bought their wine; good wine and cheap. The rest was 
plaster walls and the windows of the neighbours. The neighbours 
who, at night, when someone lay drunk in the street, moaning and 
groaning in that typical French ivresse that you were propaganded 
to believe did not exist, would open their windows and then the 
murmur of talk. 

'Where is the policeman? When you don't want him the bugger 
is always there. He's sleeping with some concierge. Get the Agent.' 
Till someone threw a bucket of water from a window and the moaning 
stopped. 'What's that? Water. Ah, that's intelligent' And the 
windows shutting. Marie, hisfemme de menage, protesting against 
the eight-hour day saying, 'If a husband works until six he gets only 
a little drunk on the way home and does not waste too much. If he 
works only until Jive he is drunk every night and one has no money. 
It is the wife of the working man who suffers from this shortening of 

'Wouldn't you like some more broth?' the woman asked 

'No, thank you very much. It is awfully good. 5 

Try just a little.' 

'I would like a whisky-soda.' 


'It's not good for you.' 

'No. It's bad for me. Cole Porter wrote the words and the 
music. This knowledge that you're going mad for me.' 

'You know I like you to drink.' 

'Oh yes. Only it's bad for me.' 

When she goes, he thought. I'll have all I want. Not all I 
want but all there is. Ayee, he was tired. Too tired. He was 
going to sleep a little while. He lay still and death was not 
there. It must have gone around another street. It went in 
pairs, on bicycles, and moved absolutely silently on the 

No, he had never written about Paris. Not the Paris that he cared 
about. But what about the rest that he had never written? 

What about the ranch and the silvered grey of the sage brush, the 
quick, clear water in the irrigation ditches, and the heavy green of the 
alfalfa? The trail went up into the hills and the cattle in the summer 
were shy as deer. The bawling and the steady noise and slow moving 
mass raising a dust as you brought them down in the fall. And behind 
the mountains, the clear sharpness of the peak in the evening light and, 
riding down along the train in the moonlight, bright across the valley. 
Now he remembered coming down through the timber in the dark 
holding the horse's tail when you could not see and all the stories that 
he meant to write. 

About the half -wit chore boy who was. left at the ranch that time 
and told not to let any one get any hay, and that old bastard from the 
Forks who had beaten the boy when he had worked for him stopping 
to get some feed. The boy refusing and the old man saying he would 
beat him again. The boy got the rifle from the kitchen and shot him 
when he tried to come into the barn and when they came back to the 
ranch he'd been dead a week, frozen in the corral, and the dogs had 
eaten part of him. But what was left you packed on a sled wrapped in 
a blanket and roped on and you got the boy to help you haul it, and 
the two of you took it out over the road on skis, and sixty miles down 
to town to turn the boy over. He having no idea that he would be 
arrested. Thinking he had done his duty and that you were his 


friend and he would be rewarded. He'd helped to haul the old man 
in so everybody could know how bad the old man had been, and how 
he'd tried to steal some feed that didn't belong to him, and when the 
sheriff put the handcuffs on the boy he couldn't believe it. Then he'd 
started to cry. That was one story he had saved to write. He knew 
at least twenty good stories from out there and he had never written 
one. Why? 

'You tell them why,' he said. 

'Why what, dear?' 

'Why nothing.' 

She didn't drink so much, now, since she had him. But if 
he lived he would never write about her, he knew that now. 
Nor about any of them. The rich were dull and they drank 
too much, or they played too much backgammon. They 
were dull and they were repetitious. He remembered poor 
Julian and his romantic awe of them and how he had started 
a story once that began, 'The very rich are different from 
you and me.' And how someone had said to Julian. Yes, they 
have more money. But that was not humorous to Julian. 
He thought they were a special glamorous race and when 
he found they weren't it wrecked him just as much as any 
other thing that wrecked him. 

He had been contemptuous of those who wrecked. You 
did not have to like it because you understood it. He could 
beat anything, he thought, because nothing could hurt him 
if he did not care. 

All right. Now he would not care for death. One thing he 
had always dreaded was the pain. He could stand pain as 
well as any man, until it went on too long, and wore him out, 
but here he had something that had hurt frightfully and just 
when he had felt it breaking him, the pain had stopped. 

He remembered long ago when Williamson, the bombing officer, 
had been hit by a stick bomb some one in a German patrol had thrown 
as he was coming in through the wire that night and, screaming, had 


begged everyone to kill him. He was a fat man, very brave, and a good 
officer, although addicted to fantastic shows. But that night he was 
caught in the wire, with a flare lighting him up and his bowels spilled 
out into the wire, so when they brought him in, alive, they had to cut 
him loose. Shoot me, Harry. For Christ sake shoot me. They had 
had an argument one time about our Lord never sending you anything 
you could not bear and someone's theory had been that meant that a 
certain time the pain passed you out automatically. But he had always 
remembered Williamson, that night. Nothing passed out Williamson 
until he gave him all his morphine tablets that he had always saved 
to use himself and then they did not work right away. 

Still this now, that he had, was very easy; and if it was no 
worse as it went on there was nothing to worry about. Except 
that he would rather be in better company. 

He thought a little about the company that he would like 
to have. 

No, he thought, when everything you do, you do too long, 
and do too late, you can't expect to find the people still there. 
The people are all gone. The party's over and you are with 
your hostess now. 

I'm getting as bored with dying as with everything else, he 

'It's a bore,' he said out loud. 

'What is, my dear?' 

'Anything you do too bloody long.' 

He looked at her face between him and the fire. She was 
leaning back in the chair and the firelight shone on her 
pleasantly lined face and he could see that she was sleepy. 
He heard the hyena make a noise just outside the range of 
the fire. 

'I've been writing,' he said. 'But I got tired/ 

'Do you think you will be able to sleep?' 

'Pretty sure. Why don't you turn in?' 

'I like to sit here with you. 5 

'Do you feel anything strange?' he asked her. 


'No. Just a little sleepy.' 

'I do,' he said. 

He had just felt death come by again. 

'You know the only thing I've never lost is curiosity/ he 
said to her. 

'You've never lost anything. You're the most complete 
man I've ever known.' 

'Christ/ he said. 'How little a woman knows. What is 
that? Your intuition?' 

Because, just then, death had come and rested its head on 
the foot of the cot and he could smell its breath. 

'Never believe any of that about a scythe and a skull,' he 
told her. 'It can be two bicycle policemen as easily or be a 
bird. Or it can have a wide snout like a hyena.' 

It had moved up on him now, but it had no shape any 
more. It simply occupied space. 

'Tell it to go away.' 

It did not go away but moved a little closer. 

'You've got a hell of a breath/ he told it. 'You stinking 

It moved up closer to him still and now he could not speak 
to it, and when it saw he could not speak it came a little closer, 
and now he tried to send it away without speaking, but it 
moved in on him so its weight was all upon his chest, and 
while it crouched there and he could not move, or speak, he 
heard the woman say, 'Bwana is asleep now. Take the cot 
up very gently and carry it into the tent'. 

He could not speak to tell her to make it go away and it 
crouched now, heavier so he Could not breathe. And then, 
while they lifted the cot, suddenly it was all right and the 
weight went from his chest. 

It was morning and had been morning for some time and 
he heard the plane. It showed very tiny and then made a 
wide circle and the boys ran out and lit the fires, using kero- 
sene, and piled on grass so there were two big smudges at each 



end of the level place and the morning breeze blew them 
toward the camp and the plane circled twice more, low this 
time, and then glided down and levelled off and landed 
smoothly and, coming walking toward him, was old Comp- 
ton in slacks, a tweed jacket and a brown felt hat. 

'What's th matter, old cock? 5 Compton said. 

'Bad leg,' he told him. 'Will you have some breakfast?' 

'Thanks. I'll just have some tea. It's the Puss Moth, you 
know. I won't be able to take the Memsahib. There's only 
room for one. Your lorry is on the way.' 

Helen had taken Compton aside and was speaking to him. 
Compton came back more cheery than ever. 

'We'll get you right in,' he said. Til be back for the Mem. 
Now I'm afraid I'll have to stop at Arusha to refuel. We'd 
better get going.' 

'What about the tea?' 

'I don't really care about it, you know. 5 

The boys had picked up the cot and carried it around the 
green tents and down along the rock and out on to the plain 
and along past the smudges that were burning brightly now, 
the grass all consumed, and the wind fanning the fire, to the 
little plane. It was difficult getting him in, but once in he lay 
back in the leather seat, and the leg was stuck straight out to 
one side of the seat where Compton sat. Compton started the 
motor and got in. He waved to Helen and to the boys and, as 
the clatter moved into the old familiar roar, they swung 
around with Compie watching for wart-hog holes and roared, 
bumping, along the stretch between the fires and with the 
last bump rose and he saw them all standing below, waving, 
and the camp beside the hill, flattening now, and the plain 
spreading, clumps of trees, and the bush flattening, while the 
game trails ran now smoothly to the dry waterholes, and 
there was a new water that he had never known of. The 
zebra, small rounded backs now, and the wildebeeste, big- 
headed dots seeming to climb as they moved in long fingers 
across the plain, now scattering as the shadow came toward 


them, they were tiny now, and the movement had no gallop, 
and the plain as far as you could see, grey-yellow now and 
ahead old Compie's tweed back and the brown felt hat. Then 
they were over the first hills and the wildebeeste were trail- 
ing up them, and then they were over mountains with sud- 
den depths of green-rising forest and the solid bamboo slopes, 
and then the heavy forest again, sculptured into peaks and 
hollows until they crossed, and hills sloped down and then 
another plain, hot now, and purple brown, bumpy with heat 
and Compie looking back to see how he was riding. Then 
there were other mountains dark ahead. 

And then instead of going on to Arusha they turned left, 
he evidently figured that they had the gas, and looking down 
he saw a pink sifting cloud, moving over the ground, and in 
the air, like the first snow in a blizzard, that comes from 
nowhere, and he knew the locusts were coming up from the 
South. Then they began to climb and they were going to the 
East it seemed, and then it darkened and they were in a 
storm, the rain so thick it seemed like flying through a water- 
fall, and then they were out and Compie turned his head and 
grinned and pointed and there, ahead, all he could see, as 
wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white 
in the sun, was the square top of Kilimanjaro. And then he 
knew that there was where he was going. 

Just then the hyena stopped whimpering in the night and 
started to make a strange, human, almost crying sound. The 
woman heard it and stirred uneasily. She did not waks. In 
her dream she was at the house on Long Island and it was the 
night before her daughter's debut. Somehow her father was 
there and he had been very rude. Then the noise the hyena 
made was so loud she woke and for a moment she did not 
know where she was and she was very afraid. Then she took 
the flashlight and shone it on the other cot that they had 
carried in after Harry had gone to sleep. She could see his 
bulk under the mosquito bar but somehow he had gotten his 


leg out and it hung down alongside the cot. The dressings 
had all come down and she could not look at it. 

'Molo,' she called. 'Molo! Molo!' 

Then she said, 'Harry, Harry!' Then her voice rising, 
'Harry! Please, Oh Harry! 5 

There was no answer and she could not hear him breathing. 

Outside the tent the hyena made the same strange noise 
that had awakened her. But she did not hear him for the 
beating of her heart. 


AN old man with steel rimmed spectacles and very dusty 
clothes sat by the side of the road. There was a pontoon 
bridge arjoss the river and carts, trucks, and men, women 
and children were crossing it. The mule-drawn carts stag- 
gered up the steep bank from the bridge with soldiers helping 
push against the spokes of the wheels. The trucks ground up 
and away heading out of it all and the peasants plodded along 
in the ankle deep dust. But the old man sat there without 
moving. He was too tired to go any farther. 

It was my business to cross the bridge, explore the bridge- 
head beyond and find out to what point the enemy had 
advanced. I did this and returned over the bridge. There 
were not so many carts now and very few people on foot, 
but the old man was still there. 

'Where do you come from?' I asked him. 

'From San Carlos/ he said, and smiled. 

That was his native town and so it gave him pleasure to 
mention it and he smiled. 

'I was taking care of animals,' he explained. 

'Oh,' I said, not quite understanding. 

'Yes,' he said, 'I stayed, you see, taking care of animals. I 
was the last one to leave the town of San Carlos.' 

He did not look like a shepherd nor a herdsman and I 
looked at his black dusty clothes and his grey dusty face and 
his steel rimmed spectacles and said, 'What animals were 

'Various animals,' he said, and shook his head. 'I had to 
leave them.' 

I was watching the bridge and the African looking country 
of the Ebro Delta and wondering how long now it would be 
before we would see the enemy, and listening all the while for 
the first noises that would signal that ever mysterious event 
called contact, and the old man still sat there. 

'What animals were they?' I asked. 



'There were three animals altogether,' he explained. 
'There were two goats and a cat and then there were four 
pairs of pigeons.' 

'And you had to leave them?' I asked. 

'Yes. Because of the artillery. The captain told me to go 
because of the artillery.' 

'And you have no family?' I asked, watching the far end of 
the bridge where a few last carts were hurrying down the 
slope of the bank. 

'No,' he said, 'only the animals I stated. The cat, of course, 
will be all right. A cat can look out for itself, but I cannot 
think what will become of the others.' 

'What politics have you?' I asked. 

T am without politics,' he said. 'I am seventy-six years old. 
I have come twelve kilometres now and I think now I can go 
no farther.' 

'This is not a good place to stop,' I said. 'If you can make 
it, there are trucks up the road where it forks for Tortosa.' 

'I will wait a while,' he said, 'and then I will go. Where do 
the trucks go?' 

'Towards Barcelona,' I told him. 

'I know of no one in that direction,' he said, 'but thank you 
very much. Thank you again very much.' 

He looked at me very blankly and tiredly, then said, having 
to share his worry with someone, 'The cat will be all right, 
I am sure. There is no need to be unquiet about the cat. But 
the others. Now what do you think about the others?' 

'Why, they'll probably come through it all right.' 

'You think so?' 

'Why not?' I said, watching the far bank where now there 
were no carts. 

'But what will they do under the artillery when I was told 
to leave because of the artillery? 5 

'Did you leave the dove cage unlocked?' I asked. 


Then they'll fly.' 


'Yes, certainly they'll fly. But the others. It's better not to 
think about the others/ he said. 

'If you are rested I would go/ I urged. 'Get up and try to 
walk now.' 

'Thank you/ he said and got to his feet, swayed from side 
to side and then sat down, backwards in the du!st. 

'I was taking care of animals/ he said dully, but no longer 
to me. 'I was only taking care of animals.' 

There was nothing to do about him. It was Easter Sunday 
and the Fascists were advancing toward the Ebro. It was a 
grey overcast day with a low ceiling so their planes were not 
up. That and the fact that cats know how to look after them- 
selves was all the good luck that old man would ever have. 


THE strange thing was, he said, how they screamed every 
night at midnight. I do not know why they screamed at thc*t 
time. We were in the harbour and they were all on. the pier 
and at midnight they started screaming. We used to turn the 
searchlight on them to quiet them. That always did the trick. 
We'd run the searchlight up and down over them two or 
three times and they stopped it. One time I was senior officer 
on the pier and a Turkish officer came up to me in a frightful 
rage because one of our sailors had been most insulting to 
him. So I told him the fellow would be sent on ship and be 
most severely punished. I asked him to point him out. So he 
pointed out a gunner's mate, most inoffensive chap. Said 
he'd been most frightfully and repeatedly insulting; talking 
to me through an interpreter. I couldn't imagine how the 
gunner's mate knew enough Turkish to be insulting. I called 
him over and said, 'And just in case you should have spoken 
to any Turkish officers.' 

'I haven't spoken to any of them, sir.' 

'I'm quite sure of it,' I said, 'but you'd best go on board 
ship and not come ashore again for the rest of the day.' 

Then I told the Turk the man was being sent on board 
ship and would be most severely dealt with. Oh, most 
rigorously. He felt topping about it. Great friends we were. 

The worst, he said, were the women with dead babies. You 
couldn't get the women to give up their dead babies. 
They'd have babies dead for six days. Wouldn't give them 
up. Nothing you could do. about it. Had to take them away 
finally. Then there was an old lady, most extraordinary case. 
I told it to a doctor and he said I was lying. We were clear- 
ing them off the pier, had to clear off the dead ones, and this 
old woman was lying on a sort of litter. They said, 'Will you 
have a look at her, sir?' So I had a look at her and just then 
she died and went absolutely stiff. Her legs drew up and she 
drew up from the waist and went quite rigid. Exactly as 



though she had been dead over night. She was quite dead 
and absolutely rigid. I told a medical chap about it and he 
told me it was impossible. 

^ They were all out there on the pier and it wasn't at all like 
an earthquake or that sort of thing because they never knew 
about the Turk. They never knew what the old Turk would 
do. You remember when they ordered us not to come in to 
take off any more? I had the wind up when we came in that 
morning. He had any amount of batteries and could have 
blown us clean out of the water. We were going to come in, 
run close along the pier, let go the front and rear anchors and 
then shell the Turkish quarter of the town. They would have 
blown us out of water but we would have blown the town 
simply to hell. They just fired a few blank charges at us as 
we came in. Kemal came down and sacked the Turkish com- 
mander. For exceeding his authority or some such thing. 
He got a bit above himself. It would have been the hell of a 

You remember the harbour. There were plenty of nice 
things floating around in it. That was the only time in my 
life I got so I dreamed about things. You didn't mind the 
women who were having babies as you did those with the 
dead ones. They had them all right. Surprising how few 
of them died. You just covered them over with something 
and let them go to it. They'd always pick out the darkest 
place in the hold to have them. None of them minded any- 
thing once they got off the pier. 

The Greeks were nice chaps too. When they evacuated 
they had all their baggage animals they couldn't take off 
with them so they just broke their forelegs and dumped them 
into the shallow water. All those mules with their forelegs 
broken pushed over into the shallow water. It was all a 
pleasant business. My word, yes, a most pleasant business. 


Everybody was drunk. The whole battery was drunk going along the 
road in the dark. We were going to the Champagne. The lieutenant 
kept riding his horse out into the fields and saying to him, Tm drunk, I 
tell you, mon vioux. Oh, I am so soused'. We went along the road all 
night in the dark and the adjutant kept riding up alongside my kitchen 
and saying, ' You must put it out. It is dangerous. It will be observed* . 
We were fifty kilometres from the front but the adjutant worried about 
the fire in my kitchen. It was funny going along that road. That was 
when I was a kitchen corporal. 


AT the lake shore there was another rowboat drawn up. The 
two Indians stood waiting. 

Nick and his father got in the stern of the boat and the 
Indians shoved it off and one of them got in to row. Uncle 
George sat in the stern of the camp rowboat. The young 
Indian shoved the camp boat off and got in to row Uncle 

The two boats started off in the dark. Nick heard the oar- 
locks of the other boat quite a way ahead of them in the mist. 
The Indians rowed with quick choppy strokes. Nick lay back 
with his father's arm around him. It was cold on the water. 
The Indian who was rowing them was working very hard, 
but the other boat moved farther ahead in the mist all 
the time. 

'Where are we going. Dad?' Nick asked. 

'Over to the Indian camp. There is an Indian lady very 

'Oh/ said Nick. 

Across the bay they found the other boat beached. Uncle 
George was smoking a cigar in the dark. The young Indian 



pulled the boat way up on the beach. Uncle George gave 
both the Indians cigars. 

They walked up from the beach through a meadow that 
was soaking wet with dew, following the young Indian who 
carried a lantern. Then they went into the woods and fol- 
lowed a trail that led to the logging road that ran back into 
the hills. It was much lighter on the logging road as the 
timber was cut away on both sides. The young Indian 
stopped and blew out his lantern and they all walked on 
along the road. 

They came around a bend and a dog came out barking. 
Ahead were the lights of the shanties where the Indian bark- 
peelers lived. More dogs rushed out at them. The two 
Indians sent them back to the shanties. In the shanty nearest 
the road there was a light in the window. An old woman 
stood in the doorway holding a lamp. 

Inside on a wooden bunk lay a young Indian woman. She 
had been trying to have her baby for two days. All the old 
women in the camp had been helping her. The men had 
moved off up the road to sit in the dark and smoke out of 
range of the noise she made. She screamed just as Nick and 
the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into 
the shanty. She lay in the lower bunk, very big under a 
quilt. Her head was turned to one side. In the upper bunk 
was her husband. He had cut his foot very badly with an 
axe three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room 
smelled very bad. 

Nick's father ordered some water to be put on the stove, 
and while it was heating he spoke to Nick. 

'This lady is going to have a baby, Nick,' he said. 

'I know, 5 said Nick. 

'You don't know,' said his father. 'Listen to me. What she 
is going through is called being in labour. The baby wants 
to be born and she wants it to be born. All her muscles are 
trying to get the baby born. That is what is happening when 
she screams.' 


'I see,' Nick said. 

Just then the woman cried out. 

'Oh, Daddy, can't you give her something to make her 
stop screaming?' asked Nick. . 

'No. I haven't any anaesthetic,' his father said. 'But her 
screams are not important. I don't hear them because they 
are not important.' 

The husband in the upper bunk rolled over against the wall. 

The woman in the kitchen motioned to the doctor that the 
water was hot. Nick's father went into the kitchen and 
poured about half of the water out of the big kettle into a 
basin. Into the water left in the kettle he put several things 
he unwrapped from a handkerchief. 

'Those must boil,' he said, and began to scrub his hands in 
the basin of hot water with a cake of soap he had brought 
from the camp. Nick watched his father's hands scrubbing 
each other with the soap. While his father washed his hands 
very carefully and thoroughly, he talked. 

'You see, Nick, babies are supposed to be born head first, 
but sometimes they're not. When they're not they make a 
lot of trouble for everybody. Maybe I'll have to operate on 
this lady. We'll know in a little while.' 

When he was satisfied with his hands he went in and went 
to work. 

'Pull back that quilt, will you, George?' he said. 'I'd 
rather not touch it.' 

Later when he started to operate Uncle George and three 
Indian men held the woman still. She bit Uncle George on 
the arm and Uncle George said, 'Damn squaw bitch!' and 
the young Indian who had rowed Uncle George over laughed 
at him. Nick held the basin for his father. It all took a long 

His father picked the baby up and slapped it to make it 
breathe and handed it to the old woman. 

'See, it's a boy, Nick,' he said. 'How do you like being an 


Nick said, 'All right'. He was looking away so as not to 
see what his father was doing. 

'There. That gets it,' said his father and put something 
ijito the basin. 

Nick cjidn't look at it. 

'Now,' his father said, 'there's some stitches to put in. You 
can watch this or not, Nick, just as you like. I'm going to 
sew up the incision I made.' 

Nick did not watch. His curiosity had been gone for a long 

His father finished and stood up. Uncle George and the three 
Indian men stood up. Nick put the basin out in the kitchen. 

Uncle George looked at his arm. The young Indian smiled 

Til put some peroxide on that, George,' the doctor said. 

He bent over the Indian woman. She was quiet now and 
her eyes were closed. She looked very pale. She did not 
know what had become of the baby or anything. 

Til be back in the morning,' the doctor said, standing up. 
'The nurse should be here from St. Ignace by noon and she'll 
bring everything we need.' 

He was feeling exalted and talkative as football players are 
in the dressing room after a game. 

'That's one for the medical journal, George,' he said. 
'Doing a Caesarian with a jack-knife and sewing it up with 
nine-foot, tapered gut leaders.' 

Uncle George was standing against the wall, looking at his 

'Oh, you're a great man, all right,' he said. 

'Ought to have a look at the proud father. They're usually 
the worst sufferers in these little affairs,' the doctor said. 'I 
must say he took it all pretty quietly.' 

He pulled back the blanket from the Indian's head. His 
hand came away wet. He mounted on the edge of the lower 
bunk with the lamp in one hand and looked in. The Indian 
lay with his face toward the wall. His throat had been cut 


from ear to ear. The blood had flowed down into a pool 
where his body sagged the bunk. His head rested on his left 
arm. The open razor lay, edge up, in the blankets. 

'Take Nick out of the shanty, George,' the doctor said. 

There was no need of that. Nick, standing in the- door of 
the kitchen, h*ad a good view of the upper bunk when his 
father, the lamp in one hand, tipped the Indian's head back. 

It was just beginning to be daylight when they walked 
along the logging road back toward the lake. 

'I'm terribly sorry I brought you along, Nickie,' said his 
father, all his post-operative exhilaration gone. 'It was an 
awful mess to put you through.' 

'Do ladies always have such a hard time having babies?' 
Nick asked. 

'No, that was very, very exceptional.' 

'Why did he kill himself, Daddy?' 

'I don't know, Nick. He couldn't stand things, I guess.' 

'Do many men kill themselves, Daddy?' 

'Not very many, Nick.' 

'Do many women?' 

'Hardly ever.' 

'Don't they ever?' 

'Oh, yes. They do sometimes.' 



'Where did Uncle George go?' 

'He'll turn up all right.' 

'Is dying hard, Daddy?' 

'No, I think it's pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.' 

They were seated in the boat, Nick in the stern, his father 
rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass 
jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand 
in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning. 

In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the 
boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would 
never die. 

Minarets stuck up in the rain out of Adrianople across the mudflats. 
The carts were jammed for thirty miles along the Karagatch road. 
Water buffalo and cattle were hauling carts through the mud. No end 
and no beginning. Just carts loaded with everything they owned. 
The old men and women, soaked through, walked along keeping the 
cattle moving. The Maritza was running yellow almost up to the 
bridge. Carts were jammed solid on the bridge with camels bobbing 
along through them. Greek cavalry herded along the procession. 
Women and kids were in the carts couched with mattresses y mirrors, 
sewing machines, bundles. There was a woman having a kid with a 
young girl holding a blanket over her and crying. Scared sick looking 
at it. It rained all through the evacuation. 


DICK BOULTON came from the Indian camp to cut up logs 
for Nick's father. He brought his son Eddy and another 
Indian named Billy Tabeshaw with him. They came in 
through the back gate out of the woods, Eddy carrying the 
long cross-cut saw. It flopped over his shoulder and made a 
musical sound as he walked. Billy Tabeshaw carried two 
big cant-hooks. Dick had three axes under his arm. 

He turned and shut the gate. The others went on ahead of 
him down to the lake shore where the logs were buried in the 

The logs had been lost from the big log booms that were 
towed down the lake to the mill by the steamer Magic. They 
had drifted up on to the beach and if nothing were done 
about them sooner or later the crew of the Magic would come 
along the shore in a rowboat, spot the logs, drive an iron spike 
with a ring on it into the end of each one and then tow them 
out into the lake to make a new boom. But the lumbermen 
might never come for them because a few logs were not worth 



the price of a crew to gather them. If no one came for them 
they would be left to waterlog and rot on the beach. 

Nick's father always assumed that this was what would 
happen, and hired the Indians to come down from the camp 
and cut the logs up with the cross-cut saw and split them with 
a wedge to make cord wood and chunks for the open fire- 
place. Dick Boulton walked around past the cottage down to 
the lake. There were four big beech logs lying almost buried 
in the sand. Eddy hung the saw up by one of its handles in 
the crotch of a tree. Dick put the three axes down on the 
little dock. Dick was a half-breed and many of the farmers 
around the lake believed he was really a white man. He was 
very lazy but a great worker once he was started. He took a 
plug of tobacco out of his pocket, bit off a chew and spoke 
in Ojibway to Eddy and Billy Tabeshaw. 

They sunk the ends of their cant-hooks into one of the 
logs and swung against it to loosen it in the sand. They 
swung their weight against the shafts of the cant-hooks. The 
log moved in the sand. Dick Boulton turned to Nick's father. 

'Well, Doc,' he said, 'that's a nice lot of timber you've 

'Don't talk that way, Dick,' the doctor said. 'It's drift- 

Eddy and Billy Tabeshaw had rocked the log out of the 
wet sand and rolled it toward the water. 

Tut it right in,' Dick Boulton shouted. 

'What are you doing that for?' asked the doctor. 

'Wash it off. Clean off the sand on account of the saw. I 
want to see who it belongs to,' Dick said. 

The log was just awash in the lake. Eddy and Billy Tabe- 
shaw leaned on their cant-hooks sweating in the sun. Dick 
kneeled down in the sand and looked at the mark of the 
sealer's hammer in the wood at the end of the log. 

'It belongs to White and McNally, 5 he said, standing up 
and brushing off his trousers knees. 

The doctor was very uncomfortable. 


'You'd better not saw it up then, Dick/ he said, shortly. 

'Don't get huffy, Doc,' said Dick. 'Don't get huffy. I 
don't care who you steal from. It's none of my business.' 
i 'If you think the logs are stolen, leave them alone and take 
your tools back to the camp,' the doctor said. His face was 
red. r 

'Don't go off at half cock, Doc,' Dick said. He spat tobacco 
juice on the log. It slid off, thinning in the water. 'You 
know they're stolen as well as I do. It don't make any 
difference to me.' 

'All right. If you think the logs are stolen, take your stuff 
and get out.' 

'Now, Doc ' 

'Take your stuff and get out.' 

'Listen, Doc.' 

'If you call me Doc once again, I'll knock your eye teeth 
down your throat.' 

'Oh, no, you won't, Doc. 5 

Dick Boulton looked at the doctor. Dick was a big man. 
He knew how big a man he was. He liked to get into fights. 
He was happy. Eddy and Billy Tabeshaw leaned on their 
cant-hooks and looked at the doctor. The doctor chewed the 
beard on his lower lip and looked at Dick Boulton. Then he 
turned away and walked up the hill to the cottage. They 
could see from his back how angry he was. They all watched 
him walk up the hill and go inside the cottage. 

Dick said something in Ojibway. Eddy laughed but Billy 
Tabeshaw looked very serious. He did not understand Eng- 
lish but he had sweat all the time the row was going on. He 
was fat with only a few hairs of moustache like a Chinaman. 
He picked up the two cant-hooks. Dick picked up the axes 
and Eddy took the saw down from the tree. They started off 
and walked up past the cottage and out the back gate into the 
woods. Dick left the gate open. Billy Tabeshaw went back 
and fastened it. They were gone through the woods. 

In the cottage the doctor, sitting on the bed in his room, 


saw a pile of medical journals on the floor by the bureau. 
They were still in their wrappers unopened. It irritated him. 

'Aren't you going back to work, dear?' asked the doctor's 
wife from the room where she was lying with the blinds 


'Was anything the matter?' 

'I had a row with Dick Boulton.' 

'Oh/ said his wife. 'I hope you didn't lose your temper, 

'No,' said the doctor. 

jjthat he who ruleth his spirit is greater than 
taketh, a city,' said his wife. She was a Christian 
Scientist. Her Bible, her copy of Science and Health and her 
Quarterly were on a table beside her bed in the darkened 

Her husband did not answer. He was sitting on his bed 
now, cleaning a shotgun. He pushed the magazine full of 
the heavy yellow shells and pumped them out again. They 
were scattered on the bed. 

'Henry,' his wife called. Then paused a moment. 'Henry!' 

'Yes,' the doctor said. 

'You didn't say anything to Boulton to anger him, did you?' 

'No,' said the doctor. 

'What was the trouble about, dear?' 

'Nothing much.' 

'Tell me, Henry. Please don't try and keep anything from 
me. What was the trouble about?' 

'Well, Dick owes me a lot of money for pulling his squaw 
through pneumonia and I guess he wanted a row so he 
wouldn't have to take it out in work.' 

His wife was silent. The doctor wiped his gun carefully 
with a rag. He pushed the shells back in against the spring 
of the magazine. He sat with the gun on his knees. He was 
very fond of it. Then he heard his wife's voice from the 
darkened room. 


'Dear, I don't think, I really don't think that anyone 
would really do a thing like that.' 

'No?' the doctor said. 

'No. I can't really believe that anyone would do a thing 
of that sort intentionally.' 

The doctor stood up and put the shotgun in the corner 
behind the dresser. 

'Are you going out, dear?' his wife said. 

'I think I'll go for a walk, 3 the doctor said. 

'If you see Nick, dear, will you tell him his mother wants 
to see him?' his wife said. 

The doctor went out on the porch. The screen door 
slammed behind him. He heard his wife catch her breath 
when the door slammed. 

'Sorry,' he said, outside her window with the blinds 

'It's all right, dear,' she said. 

He walked in the heat out the gate and along the path into 
the hemlock woods. It was cool in the woods even on such a 
hot day. He found Nick sitting with his back against a tree, 

'Your mother wants you to come and see her,' the doctor 

'I want to go with you,' Nick said. 

His father looked down at him. 

'All right. Come on, then,' his father said. 'Give me. the 
book, I'll put it in my pocket.' 

'I know where there's black squirrels, Daddy,' Nick said. 

'All right/ said his father. 'Let's go there.' 

We were in a garden at Mons. Young Buckley came in with his patrol 
from across the river. The first German I saw climbed up over the 
garden wall. We waited till he got one leg over and then potted him. 
He had so much equipment on and looked awfully surprised andfeil 
down into the garden. Then three more came over farther down the 
wall. We shot* them. They all came just like that. 


IN the old days Hortons Bay was a lumbering town. No one 
who lived in it was out of sound of the big saws in the mill by 
the lake. Then one year there were no more logs to make 
lumber. The lumber schooners came into the bay and were 
loaded with the cut of the mill that stood stacked in the yard. 
All the piles of lumber were carried away. The big mill 
building had all its machinery that was removable taken out 
and hoisted on board one of the schooners by the men who 
had worked in the mill. The schooner moved out of the bay 
toward the open lake carrying the two great saws, the travel- 
ling carriage that hurled the logs against the revolving, 
circular saws, and all the rollers, wheels, belts and iron piled 
on a hull-deep load of lumber. Its open hold covered with 
canvas and lashed tight, the sails of the schooner filled and 
it moved out into the open lake, carrying with it everything 
that had made the mill a mill and Hortons Bay a town. 

The one-story bunk houses, the eating-house, the company 
store, the mill offices, and the big mill itself stood deserted in 
the acres of sawdust that covered the swampy meadow by 
the shore of the bay. 

Ten years later there was nothing of the mill left except 
the broken white limestone of its foundations showing through 
the swampy second growth as Nick and Marjorie rowed 
along the shore. They were trolling along the edge of the 
channel bank where the bottom dropped off suddenly from 


sandy shallows to twelve feet of dark water. They were trolling 
on their way to the point to set night lines for rainbow trout. 

'There's our old ruin, Nick,' Marjorie said. 

Nick, rowing, looked at the white stone in the green trees. 

'There it is,' he said. 

'Can you remember when it was a mill?' Marjorie asked. 

'I can just remember,' Nick said. 

'It seems more like a castle,' Marjorie said. 

Nick said nothing. They rowed on out of sight of the mill, 
following the shore line. Then Nick cut across the bay. 

'They aren't striking,' he said. 

'No,' Marjorie said. She was intent on the rod all the time 
they trolled, even when she talked. She loved to fish. She 
loved to fish with Nick. 

Close beside the boat a big trout broke the surface of the 
water. Nick pulled hard on one oar so the boat would turn 
and the bait spinning far behind would pass where the trout 
was feeding. As the trout's back came up out of the water the 
minnows jumped wildly. They sprinkled the surface like a 
handful of shot thrown into the water. Another trout broke 
water, feeding on the other side of the boat. 

'They're feeding,' Marjorie said. 

'But they won't strike,' Nick said. 

He rowed the boat around to troll past both the feeding 
fish, then headed it for the point. Marjorie did not reel in 
until the boat touched the shore. 

They pulled the boat up the beach and Nick lifted out a 
pail of live perch. The perch swam in the water in the pail. 
Nick caught three of them with his hands and cut their heads 
off and skinned them while Marjorie chased with her hands 
in the bucket, finally caught a perch, cut its head off and 
skinned it. Nick looked at her fish. 

'You don't want to take the ventral fin out,' he said. Til 
be all right for bait but it's better with the ventral fin in.' 

He hooked each of the skinned perch through the tail. 
There were two hooks attached to a leader on each rod. 


Then Marjorie rowed the boat out over the channel-bank, 
holding the line in her teeth, and looking toward Nick, who 
stood on the shore holding the rod and letting the line run 
out from the reel. 

'That's about right,' he called. 

'Should I let it drop?' Marjorie called back, holding the 
line in her hand. 

'Sure. Let it go.' Marjorie dropped the line overboard and 
watched the baits go down through the water. 

She came in with the boat and ran the second line out the 
same way. Each time Nick set a heavy slab of driftwood 
across the butt of the rod to hold it solid and propped it up 
at an angle with a small slab. He reeled in the slack line so 
the line ran taut out to where the bait rested on the sandy 
floor of the channel and set the click on the reel. When a 
trout, feeding on the bottom, took the bait it would run with 
it, taking line out of the reel in a rush and making the reel 
sing with the click on. 

Marjorie rowed up the point a little way so she would not 
disturb the line. She pulled hard on the oars and the boat 
went way up the beach. Little waves came in with it. Mar- 
jorie stepped out of the boat and Nick pulled the boat high 
up the beach. 

'What's the matter, Nick?' Marjorie asked. 

'I don't know, 5 Nick said, getting wood for a fire. 

They made a fire with driftwood. Marjorie went to the 
boat and brought a blanket. The evening breeze blew the 
smoke toward the point, so Marjorie spread the blanket out 
between the fire and the lake. 

Marjorie sat on the blanket with her back to the fire and 
waited for Nkk. He came over and sat down beside her on 
the blanket. In back of them was the close second-growth 
timber of the point and in front was the bay with the mouth 
of Hortons Creek. It was not quite dark. The fire-light went 
as far as the water. They could both see the two steel rods 
at an angle over the dark water. The fire glinted on the reels. 


Marjorie unpacked the basket of supper. 

'I don't feel like eating,' said Nick. 

'Come on and eat, Nick.' 

'All right.' 

They ate without talking, and watched the two rods and 
the fire-light in the water. 

'There's going to be a moon to-night,' said Nick. He looked 
across the bay to the hills that were beginning to sharpen 
against the sky. Beyond the hills he knew the moon was 
coming up. 

'I know it,' Marjorie said happily. 

'You know everything,' Nick said. 

'Oh, Nick, please cut it out! Please, please don't be that 

'I can't help it,' Nick said. 'You do. You know every- 
thing. That's the trouble. You know you do.' 

Marjorie did not say anything. 

'I've taught you everything. You know you do. What 
don't you know, anyway?' 

'Oh, shut up/ Marjorie said. 'There comes the moon.' 

They sat on the blanket without touching each other and 
watched the moon rise. 

'You don't have to talk silly/ Marjorie said. 'What's really 
the matter?' 

'I don't know.' 

'Of course you know.' 

'No, I don't.' 

*Go on and say it.' 

Nick looked on at the moon, coming up over the hills. 

'It isn't fun any more.' 

He was afraid to look at Marjorie. Then he looked at her. 
She sat there with her back toward him. He looked at her 
back. 'It isn't fun any more. Not any of it.' 

She didn't say anything. He went on. 'I feel as though 
everything was gone to hell inside of me. I don't know, 
Marge. I don't know what to say.' 


He looked on at her back. 

'Isn't love any fun?' Marjorie said. 

'No,' Nick said. Marjorie stood up. Nick sat there, his 
head in his hands. 

'I'm going to take the boat,' Marjorie called to him. 'You 
can walk back around the point.' 

'All right,' Nick said. Til push the boat off for you.' 

'You don't need to,' she said. She was afloat in the boat on 
the water with the moonlight on it. Nick went back and lay 
down with his face in the blanket by the fire. He could hear 
Marjorie rowing on the water. 

He lay there for a long time. He lay there while he heard 
Bill come into the clearing walking around through the 
woods. He felt Bill coming up to the fire. Bill didn't touch 
him, either. 

'Did she go all right?' Bill said. 

'Yes,' Nick said, lying, his face on the blanket. 

'Have a scene?' 

'No, there wasn't any scene.' 

'How do you feel?' 

'Oh, go away, Bill! Go away for a while.' 

Bill selected a sandwich from the lunch basket and walked 
over to have a look at the rods. 

// was a frightfully hot day. We'd jammed an absolutely perfect barri- 
cade across the bridge. It was simply priceless. A big old wrought- 
iron grating from the front of a house. Too heavy to lift and you could 
shot through it and they would have to climb over it. It was abso- 
lutely topping. They tried to get over it, and we potted them from 
forty yards. They rushed it, and officers came out alone and worked 
on it. It was an absolutely perfect obstacle. Their officers were very 
jine. We were frightfully put out when we heard the flank had gone, 
and we had to fall back. 


THE rain stopped as Nick turned into the road that went up 
through the orchard. The fruit had been picked and the fall 
wind blew through the bare trees. Nick stopped and picked 
up a Wagner apple from beside the road, shiny in the brown 
grass from the rain. He put the apple in the pocket of his 
Mackinaw coat. 

The road came out of the orchard on to the top of the hill. 
There was the cottage, the porch bare, smoke coming from the 
chimney. In back was the garage, the chicken coop and the 
second-growth timber like a hedge against the woods behind. 
The big trees swayed far over in the wind as he watched. It 
was the first of the autumn storms. 

As Nick crossed the open field above the orchard the door 
of the cottage opened and Bill came out. He stood on the 
porch looking out. 

'Well, Wemedge?' he said. 

'Hey, Bill,' Nick said, coming up the steps. 

They stood together, looking out across the country, down 
over the orchard, beyond the road, across the lower fields and 
the woods of the point to the lake. The wind was blowing 
straight down the lake. They could see the surf along Ten 
Mile point. 

'She's blowing,' Nick said. 



'She'll blow like that for three days,' Bill said. 

'Is your dad in?' Nick said. 

'No. He's out with the gun. Come on in.' 

Nick went inside the cottage. There was a big fire in thp 
fireplace. The wind made it roar. Bill shut the door. 

'Have a drink?' he said. 

He went out to the kitchen and came back with two glasses 
and a pitcher of water. Nick reached the whisky bottle from 
the shelf above the fireplace. 

'All right?' he said. 

'Good,' said Bill. 

They sat in front of the fire and drank the Irish whisky and 

'It's got a swell, smoky taste,' Nick said, and looked at the 
fire through the glass. 

'That's the peat,' Bill said. 

'You can't get peat into liquor,' Nick said. 

'That doesn't make any difference,' Bill said. 

'You ever seen any peat?' Nick asked. 

'No,' said Bill. 

'Neither have I,' Nick said. 

His shoes, stretched out on the hearth, began to steam in 
front of the fire. 

'Better take your shoes off,' Bill said. 

'I haven't got any socks on.' 

'Take them off and dry them and I'll get you some,' Bill 
said. He went upstairs into the loft and Nick heard him 
walking about overhead. Upstairs was open under the roof 
and was where Bill and his father and he, Nick, sometimes 
slept. In back was a dressing room. They moved the cots 
back out of the rain and covered them with rubber blankets. 

Bill came down with a pair of heavy wool socks. 

'It's getting too late to go around without socks,' he said. 

'I hate to start them again,' Nick said. He pulled the socks 
on and slumped back in the chair, putting his feet up on the 
screen in front of the fire. 


'You'll dent in the screen/ Bill said. Nick swung his feet 
over to the side of the fireplace. 

'Got anything to read?' he asked. 

'Only the paper.' 
" 'What did the Cards do?' 

'Dropped a double header to the Giants.' 

'That ought to cinch it for them.' 

'It's a gift,' Bill said. 'As long as McGraw can buy every 
good ball player in the league there's nothing to it.' 

'He can't buy them all/ Nick said. 

'He buys all the ones he wants/ Bill said. 'Or he makes 
them discontented so they have to trade them to him.' 

'Like Heinie Zim/ Nick agreed. 

'That bonehead will do him a lot of good.' 

Bill stood up. 

'He can hit/ Nick offered. The heat from the fire was 
baking his legs. 

'He's a sweet fielder, too/ Bill said. 'But he loses ball 

'Maybe that's what McGraw wants him for/ Nick 

'Maybe/ Bill agreed. 

'There's more always to it than we know about/ Nick said. 

'Of course. But we've got pretty good dope for being so 
far away.' 

'Like how much better you can pick them if you don't see 
the horses.' 

'That's it.' 

Bill reached down the whisky bottle. His big hand went 
all the way around it. He poured the whisky into the glass 
Nick held out. 

'How much water?' 

'Just the same.' 

He sat down on the floor beside Nick's chair. 

'It's good when the fall storms come, isn't it?' Nick said. 

'It's swell.' 


'It's the best time of year, 5 Nick said. 

'Wouldn't it be hell to be in town?' Bill said. 

'I'd like to see the World Series,' Nick said. 

'Well, they're always in New York or Philadelphia now/ 
Bill said. 'That doesn't do us any good.' 

'I wonder if the Cards will ever win a pennant?' 

'Not in our lifetime,' Bill said. 

'Gee, they'd go crazy,' Nick said. 

'Do you remember when they got going that once before 
they had the train wreck?' 

'Boy!' Nick said, remembering. 

Bill reached over to the table under the window for the 
book that lay there, face down, where he had put it when he 
went to the door. He held his glass in one hand and the book 
in the other, leaning back against Nick's chair. 

'What are you reading?' 

'Richard Fever el' 

'I couldn't get into it.' 

'It's all right,' Bill said. 'It ain't a bad book, Wemedge.' 

'What else have you got I haven't read?' Nick asked. 

'Did you read the Forest Lovers?' 

'Yup. That's the one where they go to bed every night 
with the naked sword between them.' 

'That's a good book, Wemedge.' 

'It's a swell book. What I couldn't ever understand was 
what good the sword would do. It would have to stay edge 
up all the time because if it went over flat you could roll right 
over it and it wouldn't make any trouble.' 

'It's a symbol,' Bill said. 

'Sure,' said Nick, 'but it isn't practical.' 

'Did you ever read Fortitude? 

'It's fine,' Nick said. 'That's a real book. That's where his 
old man is after him all the time. Have you got any more by 
Walpole?' , 

'The Dark Forest,' Bill said. 'It's about Russia.' 

'What does he know about Russia?' Nick asked. 



'I don't know. You can't ever tell about those guys. 
Maybe he was there when he was a boy. He's got a lot of 
dope on it.' 

Td like to meet him,' Nick said. 

'I'd like to meet Chesterton,' Bill said. 

'I wist he was here now,' Nick said. 'We'd take him fishing 
to the 'Voix to-morrow.' 

'I wonder if he'd like to go fishing,' Bill said. 

'Sure/ said Nick. 'He must be about the best guy there is. 
Do you remember the Flying Inn? 

'If an angel out of heaven 
Gives you something else to drink, 
Thank him for his kind intentions; 
Go and pour them down the sink!' 

'That's right,' said Nick. 'I guess he's a better guy than 

'Oh, he's a better guy, all right,' Bill said. 

'But Walpole's a better writer.' 

'I don't know,' Nick said. 'Chesterton's a classic.' 

* Walpole's a classic, too,' Bill insisted. 

'I wish we had them both here,' Nick said. 'We'd take 
them both fishing to the 'Voix to-morrow.' 

'Let's get drunk,' Bill said. 

'All right,' Nick agreed. 

'My old man won't care,' Bill said. 

'Are you sure?' said Nick. 

'I know it,' Bill said. 

'I'm a little drunk now,' Nick said. 

'You aren't drunk,' Bill said. 

He got up from the floor and reached for the whisky bottle. 
Nick held out his glass. His eyes fixed on it while Bill poured. 

Bill poured the glass half full of whisky. 

'Put in your own water,' he said. 'There's just one more 

'Got any more?' Nick asked. 


'There's plenty more but dad only likes me to drink what's 
open. 5 

'Sure, 5 said Nick. 

'He says opening bottles is what makes drunkards, 5 Bili 

'That's right, 5 said Nick. He was impressed. He had never 
thought of that before. He had always thought it was solitary 
drinking that made drunkards. 

'How is your dad? 5 he asked respectfully. 

'He's all right,' Bill said. 'He gets a little wild sometimes.' 

'He's a swell guy,' Nick said. He poured water into his 
glass out of the pitcher. It mixed slowly with the whisky. 
There was more whisky than water. 

'You bet your life he is,' Bill said. 

'My old man's all right,' Nick said. 

'You're damn right he is,' said Bill. 

'He claims he's never taken a drink in his life,' Nick said, as 
though announcing a scientific fact. 

'Well, he's a doctor. My old man's a painter. That's 

'He's missed a lot,' Nick said sadly. 

'You can't tell,' Bill said. 'Everything's got its compensa- 

'He says he's missed a lot himself, 5 Nick confessed. 

'Well, dad's had a tough time,' Bill said. 

'It all evens up, 5 Nick said. 

They sat looking into the fire and thinking of this profound 

Til get a chunk from the back porch, 5 Nick said. He had 
noticed while looking into the fire that the fire was dying 
down. Also he wished to show he could hold his liquor and 
be practical. Even if his father had never touched a drop 
Bill was not going to get him drunk before he himself was 

'Bring one of the big beech chunks, 3 Bill said. He was also 
being consciously practical. 


Nick came in with the log through the kitchen and in 
passing knocked a pan off the kitchen table. He laid the log 
down and picked up the pan. It had contained dried apricots, 
c oaking in water. He carefully picked up all the apricots off 
the floor, some of them had gone under the stove, and put 
them back in the pan. He dipped some more water on to 
them from the pail by the table. He felt quite proud of 
himself. He had been thoroughly practical. 

He came in carrying the log and Bill got up from the chair 
and helped him put it on the fire. 

That's a swell log, 5 Nick said. 

Td been saving it for the bad weather,' Bill said. 'A log 
like that will burn all night.' 

'There'll be coals left to start the fire in the morning,' Nick 

'That's right,' Bill agreed. They were conducting the 
conversation on a high plane. 

'Let's have another drink,' Nick said. 

'I think there's another bottle open in the locker,' Bill said. 

He kneeled down in the corner in front of the locker and 
brought out a square-faced bottle. 

'It's Scotch,' he said. 

Til get some more water,' Nick said. He went out into 
the kitchen again. He filled the pitcher with the dipper, 
dipping cold spring water from the pail. On his way back 
to the living room he passed a mirror in the dining room and 
looked in it. His face looked strange. He smiled at the face 
in the mirror and it grinned back at him. He winked at it 
and went on. It was not his face but it didn't make any 

Bill had poured out the drinks. 

'That's an awfully big shot,' Nick said. 

'Not for us, Wemedge,' Bill said. 

'What'll we drink to?' Nick asked, holding up the glass. 

'Let's drink to fishing,' Bill said. 

'All right,' Nick said. 'Gentlemen, I give you fishing/ 


'All fishing,' Bill said. 'Everywhere.' 

'Fishing,' Nick said. 'That's what we drink to.' 

'It's better than baseball,' Bill said. 

'There isn't any comparison,' said Nick. 'How did we eve* 
get talking about baseball?' 

'It was a mistake,' Bill said. 'Baseball is a game for louts.' 

They drank all that was in their glasses. 

'Now let's drink to Chesterton.' 

'And Walpole,' Nick interposed. 

Nick poured out the liquor. Bill poured in the water. 
They looked at each other. They felt very fine. 

'Gentlemen,' Bill said, 'I give you Chesterton and Walpole.' 

'Exactly, gentlemen,' Nick said. 

They drank. Bill filled up the glasses. They sat down in 
the big chairs in front of the fire. 

'You were very wise, Wemedge,' Bill said. 

'What do you mean?' asked Nick. 

'To bust off that Marge business,' Bill said. 

T guess so,' said Nick. 

'It was the only thing to do. If you hadn't, by now you'd be 
back home working trying to get enough money to get married . ' 

Nick said nothing. 

'Once a man's married he's absolutely bitched,' Bill went 
on. 'He hasn't got anything more. Nothing. Not a damn 
thing. He's done for. You've seen the guys that get married.' 

Nick said nothing. 

'You can tell them/ Bill said. 'They get this sort of fat 
married look. They're done for.' 

'Sure,' said Nick. 

'It was probably bad busting it off,' Bill said. 'But you 
always fall for somebody else and then it's all right. Fall 
for them but don't let them ruin you.' 

'Yes,' said Nick. 

'If you'd have married her you would have had to marry 
the whole family. Remember her mother and that guy she 
married ' 


Nick nodded. 

'Imagine having them around the house all the time and 
going to Sunday dinners at their house, and having them 
9ver to dinner and her telling Marge all the time what to 
do and how to act.' 

Nick sat quiet. 

'You came out of it damned well/ Bill said. 'Now she can 
marry somebody of her own sort and settle down and be 
happy. You can't mix oil and water and you can't mix that 
sort of thing any more than if I'd marry Ida that works for 
Strattons. She'd probably like it, too.' 

Nick said nothing. The liquor had all died out of him and 
left him alone. Bill wasn't there. He wasn't sitting in front 
of the fire or going fishing to-morrow with Bill and his dad 
or anything. He wasn't drunk. It was all gone. All he knew 
was that he had once had Marjorie and that he had lost her. 
She was gone and he had sent her away. That was all that 
mattered. He might never see her again. Probably he never 
would. It was all gone, finished. 

'Let's have another drink,' Nick said. 

Bill poured it out. Nick splashed in a little water. 

'If you'd gone on that way we wouldn't be here now,' 
Bill said. 

That was true. His original plan had been to go down 
home and get a job. Then he had planned to stay in Charle- 
voix all winter so he could be near Marge. Now he did not 
know what he was going to do. 

'Probably we wouldn't even be going fishing to-morrow,' 
Bill said. 'You had the right dope, all right.' 

'I couldn't help it,' Nick said. 

'I know. That's the way it works out,' Bill said. 

'All of a sudden everything was over,' Nick said. 'I don't 
know why it was. I couldn't help it. Just like when the 
three-day blows come now and rip all the leaves off the 

'Well, it's over. That's the point,' Bill said. 


'It was my fault/ Nick said. 

'It doesn't make any difference whose fault it was/ Bill 

'No, I suppose not/ Nick said. 

The big thing was that Marjorie was gone and that pro- 
bably he would never see her again. He had talked to her 
about how they would go to Italy together and the fun they 
would have. Places they would be together. It was all gone 

'So long as it's over that's all that matters/ Bill said. 'I tell 
you, Wemedge, I was worried while it was going on. You 
played it right. I understand her mother is sore as hell. 
She told a lot of people you were engaged.' 

'We weren't engaged/ Nick said. 

'It was all around that you were.' 

'I can't help it/ Nick said. 'We weren't.' 

'Weren't you going to get married?' Bill asked. 

'Yes. But we weren't engaged/ Nick said. 

'What's the difference?' Bill asked judicially. 

'I don't know. There's a difference.' 

'I don't see it/ said Bill. 

'All right/ said Nick. 'Let's get drunk.' 

'All right/ Bill said. 'Let's get really drunk.' 

'Let's get drunk and then go swimming/ Nick said. 

He drank off his glass. 

Tm as sorry as hell about her but what could I do?' he 
said. 'You know what her mother was like!' 

'She was terrible/ Bill said. 

'All of a sudden it was over/ Nick said. 'I oughtn't to talk 
about it.' 

'You aren't/ Bill said. 'I talked about it and now I'm 
through. We won't ever speak about it again. You don't 
want to think about it. You might get back into it again.' 

Nick had not thought about that. It had seemed so 
absolute. That was a thought. That made him feel better, 

'Sure/ he said. 'There's always that danger.' 


He felt happy now. There was not anything that was 
irrevocable. He might go into town Saturday night. To- 
day was Thursday. 

'There's always a chance/ he said. 

'You'll have to watch yourself/ Bill said. 

Til watch myself/ he said. 

He felt happy. Nothing was finished. Nothing was ever 
lost. He would go into town on Saturday. He felt lighter, 
as he had felt before Bill started to talk about it. There was 
always a way out. 

'Let's take the guns and go down to the point and look for 
your dad/ Nick said. 

'All right.' 

Bill took down the two shotguns from the rack on the wall. 
He opened a box of shells. Nick put on his Mackinaw coat 
and his shoes. His shoes were stiff from the drying. He was 
still quite drunk but his head was clear. 

'How do you feel?' Nick asked. 

'Swell. I've just got a good edge on.' Bill was buttoning up 
his sweater. 

'There's no use getting drunk.' 

'No. We ought to get outdoors.' 

They stepped out the door. The wind was blowing a gale. 

'The birds will lie right down in the grass with this/ Nick 

They struck down toward the orchard. 

'I saw a woodcock this morning/ Bill said. 

'Maybe we'll jump him/ Nick said. 

'You can't shoot in this wind/ Bill said. 

Outside now the Marge business was no longer so tragic. 
It was not even very important. The wind blew everything 
like that away. 

'It's coming right off the big lake/ Nick said. 

Against the wind they heard the thud of a shotgun. 

'That's dad/ Bill said. 'He's down in the swamp.' 

'Let's cut down that way/ Nick said. 


'Let's cut across the lower meadow and see if we jump 
anything/ Bill said. 

'All right,' Nick said. 

None of it was important now. The wind blew it out of hij 
head. Still he could always go into town Saturday night. 
It was a good' thing to have in reserve. 

They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning 
against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the 
courtyard. There were wet dead leaves on the paving of the courtyard. 
ft rained hard. All the shutters of the hospital were nailed shut. 
One of the ministers was sick with typhoid. Two soldiers carried 
him downstairs and out into the rain. They tried to hold him up 
against the wall but he sat down in a puddle of water. The other 
Jive stood very quietly against the wall. Finally the officer told the 
soldiers it was no good trying to make him stand up. When they fired 
the first volley he was sitting down in the water with his head on his 


NICK stood up. He was all right. He looked up the track at 
the lights of the caboose going out of sight around the curve. 
There was water on both sides of the track, then tamarack 

He felt of his knee. The pants were torn and the skin was 
barked. His hands were scraped and there were sand and 
cinders driven up under his nails. He went over to the edge 
of the track down the little slope to the water and washed 
his hands. He washed them carefully in the cold water, 
getting the dirt out from the nails. He squatted down and 
bathed his knee. 

That lousy crut of a brakeman. He would get him some 
day. He would know him again. That was a fine way to act. 

'Come here, kid,' he said. 'I got something for you.' 

He had fallen for it. What a lousy kid thing to have done. 

They would never suck him in that way again. 

'Come here, kid, I got something for you.' Then wham 
and he lit on his hands and knees beside the track. 

Nick rubbed his eye. There was a big bump coming up. 



He would have a black eye, all right. It ached already. 
That son of a crutting brakeman. 

He touched the bump over his eye with his fingers. Oh, 
well, it was only a black eye. That was all he had gotten oirt 
of it. Cheap at the price. He wished he could see it. Could 
not see it looking into the water, though. It was dark and he 
was a long way off from anywhere. He wiped his hands on 
his trousers and stood up, then climbed the embankment to 
the rails. 

He started up the track. It was well ballasted and made 
easy walking, sand and gravel packed between the ties, solid 
walking. The smooth roadbed like a- causeway went on 
ahead through the swamp. Nick walked along. He must get 
to somewhere. 

Nick had swung on to the freight train when it slowed 
down for the yards outside of Walton Junction. The train, 
with Nick on it, had passed through Kalkaska as it started 
to get dark. Now he must be nearly to Mancelona. Three or 
four miles of swamp. He stepped along the track, walking 
so he kept on the ballast between the ties, the swamp ghostly 
in the rising mist. His eye ached and he was hungry. He 
kept on hiking, putting the miles of track back of him. The 
swamp was all the same on both sides of the track. 

Ahead there was a bridge. Nick crossed it, his boots 
ringing hollow on the iron. Down below the water showed 
black between the slits of ties. Nick kicked a loose spike and 
it dropped into the water. Beyond the bridge were hills. 
It was high and dark on both sides of the track. Up the track 
Nick saw a fire. 

He came up the track toward the fire carefully. It was off 
to one side of the track, below the railway embankment. He 
had only seen the light from it. The track came out through 
a cut and where the fire was burning the country opened out 
and fell away into woods. Nick dropped carefully down the 
embankment and cut into the woods to come up to the fire 
through the trees. It was a beechwood forest and the fallen 


beechnut burrs were under his shoes as he walked between 
the trees. The fire was bright now, just at the edge of the 
trees. There was a man sitting by it. Nick waited behind 
the tree and watched. The man looked to be alone. He was 
sitting there with his head in his hands looking at the fire. 
Nick stepped out and walked into the firelight.' 

The man sat there looking into the fire. When Nick 
stopped quite close to him he did not move. 

'Hello!' Nick said. 

The man looked up. 

'Where did you get the shiner? 5 he said. 

'A brakeman busted me.' 

'Off the through freight?' 


'I saw the bastard,' the man said. 'He went through here 
'bout an hour and a half ago. He was walking along the top 
of the cars slapping his arms and singing.' 

'The bastard!' 

'It must have made him feel good to bust you,' the man said 

Til bust him. 5 

'Get him with a rock sometime when he's going through,' 
the man advised. 

Til get him.' 

'You're a tough one, aren't you?' 

'No,' Nick answered. 

'All you kids are tough.' 

'You got to be tough,' Nick said. 

'That's what I said.' 

The man looked at Nick and smiled. In the firelight Nick 
saw that his face was misshapen. His nose was sunken, his 
eyes were slits, he had queer-shaped lips. Nick did not per- 
ceive all this at once, he only saw the man's face was queerly 
formed and mutilated. It was like putty in colour. Dead 
looking in the firelight. 

'Don't you like my pan?' the man asked. 


Nick was embarrassed. 

'Sure/ he said. 

'Look here!' the man took off his cap. 

He had only one eai. It was thickened and tight againrt 
the side of his head. Where the other ear should h%ve been 
there was a stump. 

'Ever see one like that?' 

'No/ said Nick. It made him a little sick. 

'I could take it/ the man said. 'Don't you think I could 
take it, kid?' 

'You bet!' 

'They all bust their hands on me/ the little man said 
'They couldn't hurt me.' 

He looked at Nick. 'Sit down/ he said. 'Want to eat?' 

'Don't bother/ Nick said. Tm going on to the town.' 

'Listen!' the man said. 'Gall me Ad.' 


'Listen/ the little man said. Tm not quite right.' 

'What's the matter?' 

'I'm crazy.' 

He put on his cap. Nick felt like laughing. 

'You're all right/ he said. 

'No, I'm not. I'm crazy. Listen, you ever been crazy?' 

'No/ Nick said. 'How does it get you?' 

'I don't know/ Ad said. 'When you got it you don't know 
about it. You know me, don't you?' 


Tm Ad Francis.' 

'Honest to God?' 

'Don't you believe it?' 


Nick knew it must be true. 

'You know how I beat them?' 

'No/ Nick said. 

'My heart's slow. It only beats forty a minute. Feel it/ 

Nick hesitated. 


'Come on,' the man took hold of his hand. 'Take hold of 
my wrist. Put your fingers there.' 

The little man's wrist was thick and the muscles bulged 
*?bove the bone. Nick felt the slow pumping under his fingers. 

'Got # watch?' 


'Neither have I,' Ad said. 'It ain't any good if you haven't 
got a watch.' 

Nick dropped his wrist. 

'Listen,' Ad Francis said. 'Take ahold again. You count 
and I'll count up to sixty.' 

Feeling the slow hard throb under his fingers Nick started 
to count. He heard the little man counting slowly, one, two, 
three, four, five, and on aloud. 

'Sixty,' Ad finished. 'That's a minute. What did you 
make it?' 

'Forty,' Nick said. 

'That's right,' Ad said happily. 'She never speeds up.' 

A man dropped down the railroad embankment and came 
across the clearing to the fire. 

'Hello, Bugs!' Ad said. 

'Hello!' Bugs answered. It was a negro's voice. Nick 
knew from the way he walked that he was a negro. He 
stood with his back to them, bending over the fire. He 
straightened up. 

'This is my pal Bugs,' Ad said. 'He's crazy, too.' 

'Glad to meet you,' Bugs said. 'Where you say you're 

'Chicago,' Nick said. 

'That's a fine town,' the negro said. 'I didn't catch your 

"Adams. Nick Adams.' 

'He says he's never been crazy. Bugs,' Ad said. 

'He's got a lot coming to him/ the negro said. He was 
unwrapping a package by the fire. 

'When are we going to eat, Bugs?' the prizefighter asked. 


' Right away.' 

'Are you hungry, Nick?' 

'Hungry as hell.' 

'Hear that, Bugs?' 

'I hear most of what goes on.' 

That ain't What I asked you.' 

'Yes. I heard what the gentleman said.' 

Into a skillet he was laying slices of ham. As the skillet 
grew hot the grease sputtered and Bugs, crouching on long 
nigger legs over the fire, turned the ham and broke eggs into 
the skillet, tipping it from side to side to baste the eggs with 
the hot fat. 

'Will you cut some bread out of that bag. Mister Adams?' 
Bugs turned from the fire. 


Nick reached in the bag and brought out a loaf of bread. 
He cut six slices. Ad watched him and leaned forward. 

'Let me take your knife, Nick,' he said. 

'No, you don't,' the negro said. 'Hang on to your knife, 
Mister Adams.' 

The prizefighter sat back. 

'Will you bring me the bread, Mister Adams?' Bugs asked. 
Nick brought it over. 

'Do you like to dip your bread in the ham fat?' the negro 

'You bet!' 

'Perhaps we'd better wait until later. It's better at the 
finish of the meal. Here.' 

The negro picked up a slice of ham and laid it on one of the 
pieces of bread, then slid an egg on top of it. 

'Just close that sandwich, will you, please, and give it to 
Mister Francis.' 

Ad took the sandwich and started eating. 

'Watch out how that egg runs/ the negro warned. 'This is 
for you, Mister Adams. The remainder for myself. 5 

Nick bit into the sandwich. The negro was sitting opposite 


him beside Ad. The hot fried ham and eggs tasted 

'Mister Adams is right hungry,' the negro said. The little 
coian whom Nick knew by name as a former champion fighter 
was silent. He had said nothing since the negro had spoken 
about the knife. 

'May I offer you a slice of bread dipped right in the hot 
ham fat?' Bugs said. 

Thanks a lot.' 

The little white man looked at Nick. 

'Will you have some, Mister Adolph Francis?' Bugs offered 
from the skillet. 

Ad did not answer. He was looking at Nick. 

'Mister Francis?' came the nigger's soft voice. 

Ad did not answer. He was looking at Nick. 

'I spoke to you, Mister Francis,' the nigger said softly. 

Ad kept on looking at Nick. He had his cap down over his 
eyes. Nick felt nervous. 

'How the hell do you get that way?' came out from under 
the cap sharply at Nick. 'Who the hell do you think you are? 
You're a snotty bastard. You come in here where nobody 
asks you and eat a man's food and when he asks to borrow a 
knife you get snotty.' 

He glared at Nick, his face was white and his eyes almost 
out of sight under the cap. 

'You're a hot sketch. Who the hell asked you to butt in 


'You're damn right nobody did. Nobody asked you to stay 
either. You come in here and act snotty about my face and 
smoke my cigars and drink my liquor and then talk snotty. 
Where the hell do you think you get off?' 

Nick said nothing. Ad stood up. 

Til tell you, you yellow-livered Chicago bastard. You're 
going to get youi; can knocked off. Do you get that?' 

Nick stepped back. The little man came toward him 


slowly, stepping flat-footed forward, his left foot stepping 
forward, his right dragging up to it. 

'Hit me/ he moved his head. 'Try and hit me.' 

'I don't want to hit you.' 

'You won't get out of it that way. You're going to take a 
beating, see? Come on and lead at me.' 

'Cut it out,' Nick said. 

'All right, then, you bastard.' 

The little man looked down at Niek's feet. As he looked 
down the negro, who had followed behind him as he moved 
away from the fire, set himself and tapped him across the 
base of the skull. He fell forward and Bugs dropped the cloth- 
wrapped blackjack on the grass. The little man lay there, 
his face in the grass. The negro picked him up, his head 
hanging, and carried him to the fire. His face looked bad, 
the eyes open. Bugs laid him down gently. 

'Will you bring me the water in the bucket, Mister Adams?' 
he said. 'I'm afraid I hit him just a little hard.' 

The negro splashed water with his hand on the man's face 
and pulled his ear gently. The eyes closed. 

Bugs stood up. 

'He's all right,' he said. 'There's nothing to worry about. 
I'm sorry, Mister Adams.' 

'It's all right.' Nick was looking down at the little man. 
He saw the blackjack on the grass and picked it up. It had a 
flexible handle and was limber in his hand. It was made of 
worn black leather with a handkerchief wrapped around the 
heavy end. 

'That's a whalebone handle,' the negro smiled. 'They 
don't make them any more. I didn't know how well you 
could take care of yourself and, anyway, I didn't want you 
to hurt him or mark him up no more than he is.' 

The negro smiled again. 

'You hurt him yourself.' 

'I know how to do it. He won't remember nothing of it. I 
have to do it to change him when he gets that way.' 


Nick was still looking down at the little man, lying, his eyes 
closed in the firelight. Bugs put some wood on the fire. 

'Don't you worry about him none. Mister Adams. I seen 
Mm like this plenty of times before.' 

'Whavmade him crazy?' Nick asked. 

'Oh, a lot of things,' the negro answered from the fire. 
'Would you like a cup of this coffee, Mister Adams?' 

He handed Nick the cup and smoothed the coat he had 
placed under the unconscious man's head. 

'He took too many beatings, for one thing,' the negro sipped 
the coffee. 'But that just made him sort of simple. Then his 
sister was his manager and they was always being written 
up in the papers all about brothers and sisters and how 
she loved her brother and how he loved his sister, and 
then they got married in New York and that made a lot of 

'I remember about it.' 

'Sure. Of course they wasn't brother and sister no more 
than a rabbit, but there was a lot of people didn't like it 
either way and they commenced to have disagreements, and 
one day she just went off and never come back.' 

He drank the coffee and wiped his lips with the pink palm 
of his hand. 

'He just went crazy. Will you have some more coffee, 
Mister Adams?' 


'I seen her a couple of times,' the negro went on. 'She was 
an awful good-looking woman. Looked enough like him to 
be twins. He wouldn't be bad-looking without his face all 

He stopped. The story seemed to be over. 

6 Where did you meet him?' asked Nick. 

'I met him in jail,' the negro said. 'He was busting people 
all the time after she went away and they put him in jail. I 
was in for cuttin' a man.' 

He smiled, and went on soft-voiced: 


'Right away I liked him and when I got out I looked him 
up. He likes to think I'm crazy and I don't mind. I like to be 
with him and I like seeing the country and I don't have to 
commit no larceny to do it. I like living like a gentleman.' 

'What do you all do?' Nick asked. 

'Oh, nothing. Just move around. He's got money.' 

'He must have made a lot of money.' 

'Sure. He spent all his money, though. Or they took it 
away from him. She sends him money.' 

He poked up the fire. 

'She's a mighty fine woman,' he said. 'She looks enough 
like him to be his own twin.' 

The negro looked over at the little man, lying breathing 
heavily. His blond hair was down over his forehead. His 
mutilated face looked childish in repose. 

'I can wake him up any time now, Mister Adams. If you 
don't mind I wish you'd sort of pull out. I don't like to not 
be hospitable, but it might disturb him back again to see you. 
I hate to have to thump him and it's the only thing to do 
when he gets started. I have to sort of keep him away from 
people. You don't mind, do you, Mister Adams? No, don't 
thank me, Mister Adams. I'd have warned you about him 
but he seemed to have taken such a liking to you and I 
thought things were going to be all right. You'll hit a town 
about two miles up the track. Mancelona they call it. Good- 
bye. I wish we could ask you to stay the night but it's just 
out of the question. Would you like to take some of that ham 
and some bread with you? No? You better take a sandwich,' 
all this in a low, smooth, polite nigger voice. 

'Good. Well, good-bye, Mister Adams. Good-bye and 
good luck!' 

Nick walked away from the fire across the clearing to the 
railway tracks. Out of the range of the fire he listened. The 
low soft voice of the negro was talking. Nick could not hear 
the words. Then he heard the little man say, 'I got an awful 
headache, Bugs.' 


'You'll feel better. Mister Francis,' the negro's voice 
soothed. 'Just you drink a cup of this hot coffee.' 

Nick climbed the embankment and started up the track. 
He found he had a ham sandwich in his hand and put it in 
his pocket. Looking back from the mounting grade before 
the track curved into the hills he could see the firelight in the 

Nick sat against the wall of the church where they had dragged him to 
be clear of machine-gun fire in the street. Both legs stuck out awk- 
wardly. He had been hit in the spine. His face was sweaty and dirty. 
The sun shone on his face. The day was very hot. Rinaldi, big 
backed, his equipment sprawling, lay face downward against the wall. 
Nick looked straight ahead brilliantly. The pink wall of the house 
opposite had fallen out from the roof, and an iron bedstead hung 
twisted toward the street. Two Austrian dead lay in the rubble in the 
shade of the house. Up the street were other dead. Things were 
getting forward in the town. It was going well. Stretcher bearers 
would be along any time now. Nick turned his head carefully and 
looked at Rinaldi. 'Senta Rinaldi. Senta. You and me we've made 
a separate peace.'' Rinaldi lay still in the sun breathing with difficulty. 
'Not patriots' Nick turned his head carefully away smiling sweatily. 
Rinaldi was a disappointing audience. 


ONE hot evening in Padua they carried him up on to the roof 
and he could look out over the top of the town. There were 
chimney swifts in the sky. After a while it got dark and the 
searchlights came out. The others went down and took the 
bottles with them. He and Luz could hear them below on 
the balcony. Luz sat on the bed. She was cool and fresh in 
the hot night. 

Luz stayed on night duty for three months. They were 
glad to let her. When they operated on him she prepared 
him for the operating table; and they had a joke about friend 
or enema. He went under the anaesthetic holding tight on to 
himself so he would not blab about anything during the silly, 
talky time. After he got on crutches he used to take the 
temperatures so Luz would not have to get up from the bed. 
There were only a few patients, and they all knew about it. 



They all liked Luz. As he walked back along the halls he 
thought of Luz in his bed. 

Before he went back to the front they went into the Duomo 
and prayed. It was dim and quiet, and there were other 
beople praying. They wanted to get married, but there was 
not enOtigh time for the banns, and neither of {hem had birth 
certificates. They felt as though they were married, but they 
wanted everyone to know about it, and to make it so they 
could not lose it. 

Luz wrote him many letters that he never got until after 
the armistice. Fifteen came in a bunch to the front and he 
sorted them by the dates and read them all straight through. 
They were all about the hospital, and how much she loved 
him and how it was impossible to get along without him and 
how terrible it was missing him at night. 

After the armistice they agreed he should go home to get a 
job so they might be married. Luz would not come home 
until he had a good job and could come to New York to meet 
her. It was understood he would not drink, and he did not 
want to see his friends or anyone in the States. Only to get 
a job and be married. On the train from Padua to Milan 
they quarrelled about her not being willing to come home at 
once. When they had to say good-bye, in the station at Milan, 
they kissed good-bye, but were not finished with the quarrel. 
He felt sick about saying good-bye like that. 

He went to America on a boat from Genoa. Luz went back 
to Pordonone to open a hospital. It was lonely and rainy 
there and there was a battalion of arditi quartered in the 
town. Living in the muddy, rainy town in the winter, the 
major of the battalion made love to Luz, and she had never 
known Italians before, and finally wrote to the States that 
theirs had been only a boy and girl affair. She was sorry, 
and she knew he would probably not be able to understand, 
but might some day forgive her, and be grateful to her, and 
she expected, absolutely unexpectedly, to be married in the 
spring. She loved him as always, but she realized now it was 


only a boy and girl love. She hoped he would have a great 
career, and believed in him absolutely. She knew it was for 
the best. 

The major did not marry her in the spring, or any other 
time. Luz never got an answer to the letter to Chicago abou v 
it. A short tinie after he contracted gonorrhoea froin a sales 
girl in a loop department store while riding in a taxicab 
through Lincoln Park. 

While the bombardment was knocking the trench to pieces at Fossalta, 
he lay very fiat and sweated and prayed ohjesus christ get me out of 
here. Dear jesus please get me out. Christ please please please christ. If 
you'll only keep me from getting killed Pll do anything you say. I 
believe injou and Pll tell everyone in the world that you are the only 
one that matters. Please please dear jesus. The shelling rnovedfarther up 
the line. We went to work on the trench and in the morning the sun came 
up and the day was hot and muggy and cheerful and quiet. The next 
night back at Mestre he did not tell the girl he went upstairs with at 
the Villa Rossa about Jesus. And he never told anybody. 


KREBS went to the war from a Methodist college in Kansas. 
There is a picture which shows him among his fraternity 
brothers, all of them wearing exactly the same height and 
style collar. He enlisted in the Marines in 1917 and did not 
return to the United States until the second division returned 
from the Rhine in the summer of 1919. 

There is a picture which shows him on the Rhine with 
two German girls and another corporal. Krebs and the cor- 
poral look too big for their uniforms. The German girls are 
not beautiful. The Rhine does not show in the picture. 

By the time Krebs returned to his home town in Oklahoma 
the greeting of heroes was over. He came back much too late. 
The men from the town who had been drafted had all been 
welcomed elaborately on their return. There had been a 
great deal of hysteria. Now the reaction had set in. People 
seemed to think it was rather ridiculous for Krebs to be 
getting back so late, years after the war was over. 

At first Krebs, t who had been at Belleau Wood, Soissons, the 
Champagne, St. Mihiel and in the Argonne, did not want to 
talk about the war at all. Later he felt the need to talk but no 



one wanted to hear about it. His town had heard too many 
atrocity stories to be thrilled by actualities. Krebs found 
that to be listened to at all he had to lie, and after he had done 
this twice he, too, had a reaction against the war and agains*- 
talking about it. A distaste for everything that had happened 
to him in the War set in because of the lies he had told. All 
of the times that had been able to make him feel cool and 
clear inside himself when he thought of them; the times so 
long back when he had done the one thing, the only thing for 
a man to do, easily and naturally, when he might have done 
something else, now lost their cool, valuable quality and then 
were lost themselves. 

His lies were quite unimportant lies and consisted in 
attributing to himself things other men had seen, done or 
heard of, and stating as facts certain apocryphal incidents 
familiar to all soldiers. Even his lies were not sensational at 
the pool room. His acquaintances, who had heard detailed 
accounts of German women found chained to machine-guns 
in the Argonne forest and who could not comprehend, or 
were barred by their patriotism from interest in, any German 
machine-gunners who were not chained, were not thrilled 
by his stories. 

Krebs acquired the nausea in regard to experience that is 
the result of untruth or exaggeration, and when he occasion- 
ally met another man who had really been a soldier and they 
talked a few minutes in the dressing room at a dance he fell 
into the easy pose of the old soldier among other soldiers : 
that he had been badly, sickeningly frightened all the time. 
In this way he lost everything. 

During this time, it was late summer, he was sleeping late 
in bed, getting up to walk down town to the library to get a 
book, eating lunch at home, reading on the front porch until 
he became bored and then walking down through the town 
to spend the hottest hours of the day in the cool dark of the 
pool room. He loved to play pool. 

In the evening he practised on his clarinet, strolled down 


town, read and went to bed. He was still a hero to his two 
young sisters. His mother would have given him breakfast 
in bed if he had wanted it. She often came in when he was 
in bed and asked him to tell her about the war, but her 
Attention always wandered. His father was non-committal. 

Before Krebs went away to the war he had never been 
allowed to drive the family motor car. His father was in the 
real estate business and always wanted the car to be at his 
command when he required it to take clients out into the 
country to show them a piece of farm property. The car 
always stood outside the First National Bank building where 
his father had an office on the second floor. Now, after the 
war, it was still the same car. 

Nothing was changed in the town except that the young 
girls had grown up. But they lived in such a complicated 
world of already defined alliances and shifting feuds that 
Krebs did not feel the energy or the courage to break into it. 
He liked to look at them, though. There were so many good- 
looking young girls. Most of them had their hair cut short. 
When he went away only little girls wore their hair like that 
or girls that were fast. They all wore sweaters and shirt 
waists with round Dutch collars. It was a pattern. He liked 
to look at them from the front porch as they walked on the 
other side of the street. He liked to watch them walking 
under the shade of the trees. He liked the round Dutch 
collars above their sweaters. He liked their silk stockings and 
flat shoes. He liked their bobbed hair and the way they 

When he was in town their appeal to him was not very 
strong. He did not like them when he saw them in the 
Greek's ice cream parlour. He did not want them themselves 
really. They were too complicated. There was something 
else. Vaguely he wanted a girl but he did not want to have to 
work to get her. He would have liked to have a girl but he 
did not want to have to spend a long time getting her. He 
did not want to get into the intrigue and the politics. He did 


not want to have to do any courting. He did not want to tell 
any more lies. It wasn't worth it. 

He did not want any consequences. He did not want any 
consequences ever again. He wanted to live along without 
consequences. Besides he did not really need a girl. Thft 
army had taught him that. It was all right to pose as though 
you had to have a girl. Nearly everybody did that. But it 
wasn't true. You did not need a girl. That was the funny 
thing. First a fellow boasted how girls meant nothing to him, 
that he never thought of them, that they could not touch 
him. Then a fellow boasted that he could not get along 
without girls, that he had to have them all the time, that he 
could not go to sleep without them. 

That was all a lie. It was all a lie both ways. You did not 
need a girl unless you thought about them. He learned that 
in the army. Then sooner or later you always got one. When 
you were really ripe for a girl you always got one. You did 
not have to think about it. Sooner or later it would come. 
He had learned that in the army. 

Now he would have liked a girl if she had come to him 
and not wanted to talk. But here at home it was all too com- 
plicated. He knew he could never get through it all again. 
It was not worth the trouble. That was the thing about 
French girls and German girls. There was not all this talking. 
You couldn't talk much and you did not need to talk. It was 
simple and you were friends. He thought about France and 
then he began to think about Germany. On the whole he 
had liked Germany better. He did not want to leave Ger- 
many. He did not want to come home. Still, he had come 
home. He sat on the front porch. 

He liked the girls that were walking along the other side of 
the street. He liked the look of them much better than the 
French girls or the German girls. But the world they were 
in was not the world he was in. He would like to have one 
of them. But it was not worth it. They were such a nice 
pattern. He liked the pattern. It was exciting. But he would 


not go through all the talking. He did not want one badly 
enough. He liked to look at them all, though. It was not 
worth it. Not now when things were getting good again. 

He sat there on the porch reading a book on the war. It 
was a history and he was reading about all the engagements 
he had been in. It was the most interesting reading he had 
ever done. He wished there were more maps. He looked 
forward with a good feeling to reading all the really good 
histories when they would come out with good detail maps. 
Now he was really learning about the war. He had been a 
good soldier. That made a difference. 

One morning after he had been home about a month his 
mother came into his bedroom and sat on the bed. She 
smoothed her apron. 

'I had a talk with your father last night, Harold,' she said, 
x and he is willing for you to take the car out in the evenings.' 

'Yeah? 5 said Krebs, who was not fully awake. 'Take the 
car out? Yeah?' 

'Yes. Your father has felt for some time that you should be 
able to take the car out in the evenings whenever you wished, 
but we only talked it over last night.' 

Til bet you made him,' Krebs said. 

'No. It was your father's suggestion that we talk the 
matter over.' 

'Yeah. I'll bet you made him,' Krebs sat up in bed. 

'Will you come down to breakfast, Harold?' his mother said. 

'As soon as I get my clothes on,' Krebs said. 

His mother went out of the room and he could hear her 
frying something downstairs while he washed, shaved and 
dressed to go down into the dining-room for breakfast. While 
he was eating breakfast his sister brought in the mail. 

'Well, Hare,' she said. 'You old sleepy-head. What do you 
ver get up for?' 

Krebs looked at her. He liked her. She was his best sister. 

'Have you got the paper?' he asked. 

She handed him The Kansas City Star and he shucked off 


its brown wrapper and opened it to the sporting page. He 
folded The Star open and propped it against the water pitcher 
with his cereal dish to steady it, so he could read while he ate. 

'Harold/ his mother stood in the kitchen doorway, 'Harol^, 
please don't muss up the paper. Your father can't read his 
Star if it's be'en mussed.' 

'I won't muss it,' Krebs said. 

His sister sat down at the table and watched him while he 

'We're playing indoor over at school this afternoon,' she 
said. 'I'm going to pitch.' 

'Good,' said Krebs. 'How's the old wing?' 

'I can pitch better than lots of the boys. I tell them all you 
taught me. The other girls aren't much good.' 

'Yeah?' said Krebs. 

'I tell them all you're my beau. Aren't you my beau, Hare?* 

'You bet.' 

'Couldn't your brother really be your beau just because 
he's your brother?' 

'I don't know.' 

'Sure you know. Couldn't you be my beau, Hare, if I was 
old enough and if you wanted to?' 

'Sure. You're my girl now.' 

'Am I really your girl?' 


'Do you love me?' 

'Uh, huh.' 

'Will you love me always?' 


'Will you come over and watch me play indoor?' 


'Aw, Hare, you don't love me. If you loved me, you'd want 
to come over and watch me play indoor.' 

Kreb's mother came into the dining-room from the kitchen. 
She carried a plate with two fried eggs and some crisp bacon 
on it and a plate of buckwheat cakes. 


'You run along, Helen/ she said. 'I want to talk to Harold.' 

She put the eggs and bacon down in front of him and 
brought in a jug of maple syrup for the buckwheat cakes. 
Then she sat down across the table from Krebs. 

'I wish you'd put down the paper a minute, Harold/ she 

Krebs took down the paper and folded it. 

'Have you decided what you are going to do yet, Harold?' 
his mother said, taking off her glasses. 

'No/ said Krebs. 

'Don't you think it's about time?' His mother did not say 
this in a mean way. She seemed worried. 

'I hadn't thought about it/ Krebs said. 

'God has some work for every one to do/ his mother said. 
'There can be no idle hands in His Kingdom.' 

'Pm not in His Kingdom/ Krebs said. 

'We arc all of us in His Kingdom.' 

Krebs felt embarrassed and resentful as always. 

'I've worried about you so much, Harold/ his mother went 
on. 'I know the temptations you must have been exposed to. 
I know how weak men are. I know what your own dear 
grandfather, my own father, told us about the Civil War, and 
I have prayed for you. I pray for you all day long, Harold.' 

Krebs looked at the bacon fat hardening on his plate. 

'Your father is worried, too/ his mother went on. 'He 
thinks you have lost your ambition, that you haven't got a 
definite aim in life. Charley Simmons, who is just your age, 
has a good job and is going to be married. The boys are all 
settling down; they're all determined to get somewhere; you 
can see that boys like Charley Simmons are on their way to 
being really a credit to the community.' 

Krebs said nothing. 

'Don't look that way, Harold/ his mother said. 'You 
know we love you and I want to tell you for your own good 
how matters stand. Your father does not want to hamper 
your freedom. He thinks you should be allowed to drive the 


car. If you want to take some of the nice girls out riding 
with you, we are only too pleased. We want you to enjoy 
yourself. But you are going to have to settle down to work, 
Harold. Your father doesn't care what you start in at. c 
All work is honourable as he says. But you've got to -make a 
start at something. He asked me to speak to you this morning 
and then you can stop in and sec him at his office.' 

'Is that all?' Krcbs said. 

'Yes. Don't you love your mother, dear boy?' 

'No,' Krebs said. 

His mother looked at him across the table. Her eyes were 
shiny. She started crying. 

'I don't love anybody,' Krebs said. 

It wasn't any good. He couldn't tell her, he couldn't 
make her see it. It was silly to have said it. He had only 
hurt her. He went over and took hold of her arm. She was 
crying with her head in her hands. 

'I didn't mean it,' he said. 'I was just angry at something. 
I didn't mean I didn't love you.' 

His mother went on crying. Krebs put his arm on her 

'Can't you believe me, mother?' 

His mother shook her head. 

'Please, please, mother. Please believe me.' 

'All right,' his mother said chokily. She looked up at him. 
'I believe you, Harold.' 

Krebs kissed her hair. She put her face up to him. 

Tm your mother,' she said. 'I held you next to my heart 
when you were a tiny baby.' 

Krebs felt sick and vaguely nauseated. 

'I know, Mummy,' he said. Til try and* be a good boy for 

'Would you kneel and pray with me, Harold?' his mother 

They knelt down beside the dining-room table and Krebs's 
mother prayed. 


'Now, you pray, Harold/ she said. 

'I can't,' Krebs said. 

'Try, Harold.' 

'I can't.' 

'Do you want me to pray for you?' 


So his mother prayed for him and then they stood up and 
Krebs kissed his mother and went out of the house. He had 
tried so to keep his life from being complicated. Still, none of 
it had touched him. He had felt sorry for his mother and she 
had made him lie. He would go to Kansas City and get a job 
and she would feel all right about it. There would be one 
more scene maybe before he got away. He would not go 
down to his father's office. He would miss that one. He 
wanted his life to go smoothly. It had just gotten going that 
way. Well, that was all over now, anyway. He would go 
over to the schoolyard and watch Helen play indoor baseball. 

If it happened right down close in front of you, you could see Villalta 
snarl at the bull and curse him, and when the bull charged he swung 
back firmly like an oak when the wind hits it, his legs tight together, 
the muleta trailing and the sword following the curve behind. Then he 
cursed the bull, flopped the muleta at him, and swung back from the 
charge, his feet firm, the muleta curving, and at each swing the crowd 

When he started to kill it was all in the same rush. The bull 
looking at him straight in front, hating. He drew out the sword from 
the folds of the muleta and sighted with the same movement and called 
to the bull, Toro! Toro! and the bull charged and Villalta charged 
and just for a moment they became one. Villalta became one with 
the bull and then it was over. Villalta standing straight and the 
red hilt of the sword sticking out dully between the buWs shoulders. 
Villalta, his hand up at the crowd and the bull roaring blood, looking 
straight at Villalta and his legs caving. 


THE funicular car bucked once more and then stopped. It 
could not go farther, the snow drifted solidly across the track. 
The gale scouring the exposed surface of the mountain had 
swept the snow surface into a wind-board crust. Nick, 
waxing his skis in the baggage car, pushed his boots into the 
toe irons and shut the clamp tight. He jumped from the car 
sideways on to the hard wind-board, made a jump turn and 
crouching and trailing his sticks slipped in a rush down the 

On the white below George dipped and rose and dipped 
out of sight. The rush and the sudden swoop as he dropped 
down a steep undulation in the mountain side plucked Nick's 
mind out and left him only the wonderful flying, dropping 
sensation in his body. He rose to a slight up-run and then the 
snow seemed to drop out from under him as he went down, 



down, faster and faster in a rush down the last, long steep 
slope. Crouching so he was almost sitting back on his skis, 
trying to keep the centre of gravity low, the snow driving like 
a sand-storm, he knew the pace was too much. But he held 
it. He would not let go and spill. Then a patch of soft snow, 
left in a hollow by the wind, spilled him and he went over 
and over in a clashing of skis, feeling like a shot rabbit, then 
stuck, his legs crossed, his skis sticking straight up and his 
nose and ears jammed full of snow. 

George stood a little farther down the slope, knocking the 
snow from his wind jacket with big slaps. 

'You took a beauty, Mike, 5 he called to Nick. 'That's 
lousy soft snow. It bagged me the same way.' 

'What's it like over the khud?' Nick kicked his skis around 
as he lay on his back and stood up. 

'You've got to keep to your left. It's a good fast drop with 
a Christy at the bottom on account of a fence.' 

'Wait a sec and we'll take it together.' 

'No, you come on and go first. I like to see you take the 

Nick Adams came up past George, big back and blond 
head still faintly snowy, then his skis started slipping at the 
edge and he swooped down, hissing in the crystalline powder 
snow and seeming to float up and drop down as he went up 
and down the billowing khuds. He held to his left at the 
end, as he rushed toward the fence, keeping his knees 
locked tight together and turning his body like tightening 
a screw brought his skis sharply around to the right in 
a smother of snow and slowed into a loss of speed parallel to 
the hillside and the wire fence. 

He looked up thfe hill. George was coming down in tele- 
mark position, kneeling; one leg forward and bent, the other 
trailing; his sticks hanging like some insect's thin legs, kicking 
up puffs of snow as they touched the surface and finally the 
whole kneeling, trailing figure coming around in a beautiful 
right curve, crouching, the legs shot forward and back, the 


body leaning out against the swing, the sticks accenting the 
curve like points of light, all in a wild cloud of snow. 

'I wns afraid to Christy, 5 George said, 'the snow was too 
deep. You made a beauty.' 

'I can't tclemark with my leg, 5 Nick said. 

Nick held down the top strand of the wire fence with his ski 
and George slid over. Nick followed him down to the road. 
They thrust bent-kneed along the road into a pine forest. 
The road became polished ice, stained orange and a tobacco 
yellow from the teams hauling logs. The skiers kept to the 
stretch of snow along the side. The road dipped sharply to 
a stream and then ran straight up-hill. Through the woods 
they could see a long, low-eaved, weather-beaten building. 
Through the trees it was a faded yellow. Closer the window 
frames were painted green. The paint was peeling. Nick 
knocked his clamps loose with one of his ski sticks and kicked 
off the skis. 

'We might as well carry them up here, 5 he said. 

He climbed the steep road with the skis on his shoulder, 
kicking his heel nails into the icy footing. He heard George 
breathing and kicking in his heels just behind him. They 
stacked the skis against the side of the inn and slapped the 
snow off each other 5 s trousers, stamped their boots clean, and 
went in. 

Inside it was quite dark. A big porcelain stove shone in the 
corner of the room. There was a low ceiling. Smooth 
benches back of dark, wine-stained tables were along each 
side of the rooms. Two Swiss sat over their pipes and two 
decies of cloudy new wine next to the stove. The boys took 
off their jackets and sat against the wall on the other side of 
the stove. A voice in the next room stopped singing and a 
girl in a blue apron came in through the door to see what 
they wanted to drink. 

'A bottle of Sion, 5 Nick said. 'Is that all right, Gidge? 5 

'Sure,* said George. 'You know more about wine than I 
do. I like any of it. 5 


The girl went out. 

'There's nothing really can touch skiing, is there?' Nick 
said. 'The way it feels when you first drop off on a long 

'Huh/ said George. 'It's too swell to talk about.' 

The girl brought the wine in and they had trouble with the 
cork. Nick finally opened it. The girl went out and they 
heard her singing in German in the next room. 

'Those specks of cork in it don't matter,' said Nick. 

'I wonder if she's got any cake.' 

'Let's find out.' 

The girl came in and Nick noticed that her apron covered 
swellingly her pregnancy. I wonder why I didn't see that 
when she first came in, he thought. 

'What were you singing?' he asked her. 

'Opera, German opera.' She did not care to discuss the 
subject. 'We have some apple strudel if you want it.' 

'She isn't so cordial, is she?' said George. 

'Oh, well. She doesn't know us and she thought we were 
going to kid her about her singing, maybe. She's from up 
where they speak German probably and she's touchy about 
being here, and then she's got that baby coming without 
being married and she's touchy.' 

'How do you know she isn't married?' 

'No ring. Hell, no girls get married around here till they're 
knocked up.' 

The door came open and a gang of woodcutters from up 
the road came in, stamping their boots and steaming in the 
room. The waitress brought in three litres of new wine for 
the gang and they sat at the two tables, smoking and quiet, 
with their hats off, leaning back against the wall or forward 
on the table. Outside the horses on the wood sledges made 
an occasional sharp jangle of bells as they tossed their heads. 

George and Nick were happy. They were fond of each 
other. They knew they had the run back home ahead of 


'When have you got to go back to school?' Nick asked. 

'To-night,' George answered. 'I've got to get the ten-forty 
from Montreux.' 

T wish you could stick over and we could do the Dent du 
Lys to-morrow.' 

M got to gefc educated,' George said. 'Gee, Mike, don't you 
wish we could just bum together? Take our skis and go on 
the train to where there was good running and then go on 
and put up at pubs and go right across the Oberland and up 
the Valais and all through the Engadine and just take repair 
kit and extra sweaters and pyjamas in our rucksacks and not 
give a damn about school or anything.' 

'Yes, and go through the Schwarzwald that way. Gee, the 
swell places.' 

'That's where you went fishing last summer, isn't it?' 


They ate the strudel and drank the rest of the wine. 

George leaned back against the wall and shut his eyes. 

'Wine always makes me feel this way,' he said. 

'Feel bad?' Nick asked. 

'No. I feel good, but funny.' 

'I know,' Nick said. 

'Sure,' said George. 

'Should we have another bottle?' Nick asked. 

'Not for me,' George said. 

They sat there, Nick leaning his elbows on the table, 
George slumped back against the wall. 

'Is Helen going to have a baby?' George said, coming down 
to the table from the wall. 



'Late next summer.' 

'Are you glad?' 

'Yes. Now,' 

'Will you go back to the States?' 

'I guess so.' 


'Do you want to?' 


'Does Helen?' 


George sat silent. He looked at the empty bottle and the 
empty glasses. 

'It's hell, isn't it?' he said. 

'No. Not exactly,' Nick said. 

'Why not?' 

'I don't know,' Nick said. 

'Will you ever go skiing together in the States?' George 

'I don't know,' said Nick. 

'The mountains aren't much,' George said. 

'No,' said Nick. 'They're too rocky. There's too much 
timber and they're too far away.' 

'Yes,' said George, 'that's the way it is in California.' 

'Yes, 5 Nick said, 'that's the way it is everywhere I've ever 

'Yes,' said George, 'that's the way it is.' 

The Swiss got up and paid and went out. 

'I wish we were Swiss,' George said. 

'They've all got goitre,' said Nick. 

'I don't believe it,' George said. 

'Neither do I,' said Nick. 

They laughed. 

'Maybe we'll never go skiing again, Nick,' George said. 

^We've got to,' said Nick. 'It isn't worth while if you 
can't. 5 

'We'll go, all right,' George said. 

'We've got to, 5 Nick agreed. 

'I wish we could make a promise about it,' George said. 

Nick stood up. He buckled his wind jacket tight. He 
leaned over George and picked up the two ski poles from 
against the wall. He stuck one of the ski poles into the 


'There isn't any good in promising,' he said. 

They opened the door and went out. It was very cold. 
The snow had crusted hard. The road ran up the hill into 
the pine trees. 

They took down their skis from where they leaned against 
the wall of the inn. Nick put on his gloves. George was 
already started up the road, his skis on his shoulder. Now 
they would have the run home together. 

/ heard the drums coming down the street and then the fifes and the 
pipes and then they came around the corner, all dancing. The street 
was full of them. Maera saw him and then I saw him. When they 
stopped the music for the crouch he hunched down in the street with 
them all and when they started it again he jumped up and went 
dancing down the street with them. He was drunk all right. 

You go down after him, said Maera, he hates me. 

So I went down and caught up with them and grabbed him while he 
was crouched down waiting for the music to break loose and said, 
Come on Luis. For Christ's sake you've got bulls this afternoon. He 
didn't listen to me, he was listening so hard for the music to start. 

I said, Don't be a damn fool Luis. Come on back to the hotel. 

Then the music started up again and he jumped up and twisted away 
from me and started dancing. I grabbed his arm and he pulled loose 
and said, Oh leave me alone. You're not my father. 

I went back to the hotel and Maera was on the balcony looking out 
to see if Td be bringing him back. He went inside when he saw me 
and came downstairs disgusted. 

Well, I said, after all he's just an ignorant Mexican savage. 

Yes, Maera said, and who will kill his bulls after he gets a 

We, I suppose, I said. 

Yes, we, said Maera. We kills the savages' bulls, and the 
drunkards' bulls, and the riau-riau dancers' bulls. Yes. We kill 
them. We kill them all right. Yes. Yes. Yes. 


I GUESS looking at it, now, my old man was cut out for a fat 
guy, one of those regular little roly fat guys you see around, 
but he sure never got that way, except a little toward the last, 
and then it wasn't his fault, he was riding over the jumps only 
and he could afford to carry plenty of weight then. I remem- 



ber the way he'd pull on a rubber shirt over a couple of 
jerseys and a big sweat shirt over that, and get me to run 
with him in the forenoon in the hot sun. He'd have, maybe, 
taken a trial trip with one of Razzo's skins early in the morn- 
ing after just getting in from Torino at four o'clock in the 
morning and 'beating it out to the stables in a cab and then 
with the dew all over everything and the sun just starting to 
get going, I'd help him pull off his boots and he'd get into a 
pair of sneakers and all these sweaters and we'd start out. 

'Come on, kid,' he'd say, stepping up and down on his toes 
in front of the jock's dressing-room, 'let's get moving.' 

Then we'd start off jogging around the infield once, maybe, 
with him ahead, running nice, and then turn out the gate and 
along one of those roads with all the trees along both sides of 
them that run out from San Siro. I'd go ahead of him when 
we hit the road and I could run pretty good and I'd look 
around and he'd be jogging easy just behind me and after a 
little while I'd look around again and he'd begun to sweat. 
Sweating heavy and he'd just be dogging it along with his 
eyes on my back, but when he'd catch me looking at him he'd 
grin and say, 'Sweating plenty?' When my old man grinned, 
nobody could help but grin too. We'd keep right on running 
out toward the mountains and then my old man would yell, 
'Hey, Joe!' and I'd look back and he'd be sitting under a tree 
with a towel he'd had around his waist wrapped around his 

I'd come back and sit down beside him and he'd pull a 
rope out of his pocket and start skipping rope out in the sun 
with the sweat pouring off his face and him skipping rope 
out in the white dust with the rope going cloppetty, cloppetty, 
clop, clop, clop, and the sun hotter, and him working harder 
up and down a patch of the road. Say, it was a treat to see 
my old man skip rope, too. He could whirr it fast or lop it 
slow and fancy. Say, you ought to have seerf wops look at us 
sometimes, when they'd come by, going into town walking 
along with big white steers hauling the cart. They sure looked 


as though they thought the old man was nuts. He'd start the 
rope whirring till they'd stop dead still and watch him, then 
give the steers a cluck and a poke with the goad and get going 

When I'd sit watching him working out in the hot sun I 
sure felt fond of him. He sure was fun and he done his work 
so hard and he'd finish up with a regular whirring that'd 
drive the sweat out on his face like water and then sling the 
rope at the tree and come over and sit down with me and 
lean back against the tree with the towel and a sweater 
wrapped around his neck. 

'Sure it's hell keeping it down, Joe/ he'd say, and lean back 
and shut his eyes and breathe long and deep, e it ain't like 
when you're a kid.' Then he'd get up and before he started 
to cool we'd jog along back to the stables. That's the way it 
was keeping down to weight. He was worried all the time. 
Most jocks can just about ride off all they want to. A jock 
loses about a kilo every time he rides, but my old man was 
sort of dried out and he couldn't keep down his kilos without 
all that running. 

I remember once at San Siro, Regoli, a little wop, that was 
riding for Buzoni, came out across the paddock going to the 
bar for something cool; and flicking his boots with his whip, 
after he'd just weighed in and my old man had just weighed 
in too, and came out with the saddle under his arm looking 
red-faced and tired and too big for his silks and he stood there 
looking at young Regoli standing up to the outdoors bar, cool 
and kid-looking, and I said, 'What's the matter, Dad?' 'cause 
I thought maybe Regoli had bumped him or something and 
he just looked at Regoli and said, 'Oh, to hell with it', and 
went on to the dressing-room. 

Well, it would have been all right, maybe, if we'd stayed 
in Milan and ridden at Milan and Torino, 'cause if there ever 
were any easy courses, it's those two. 'Pianola, Joe/ my old 
man said when he dismounted in the winning stall after what 
the wops thought was a hell of steeplechase. I asked him 


once. 'This course rides itself. It's the pace you're going at, 
that makes riding the jumps dangerous, Joe. We ain't going 
any pace here, and they ain't really bad jumps either. But 
it's the pace always not the jumps that makes th^ 

San Siro wtis the swellest course I'd ever seen but the old 
man said it was a dog's life. Going back and forth between 
Mirafiore and San Siro and riding just about every day in 
the week with a train ride every other night. 

I was nuts about the horses, too. There's something about 
it, when they come out and go up to the track to the post. 
Sort of dancy and tight looking with the jock keeping a tight 
hold on them and maybe easing off a little and letting them 
run a little going up. Then once they were at the barrier it 
got me worse than anything. Especially at San Siro with that 
big green infield and the mountains way off and the fat wop 
starter with his big whip and the jocks fiddling them around 
and then the barrier snapping up and that bell going off and 
them all getting off in a bunch and then commencing to 
string out. You know the way a bunch of skins gets off. If 
you're up in the stand with a pair of glasses all you see is 
them plunging off and then that bell goes off and it seems 
like it rings for a thousand years and then they come 
sweeping round the turn. There wasn't ever anything like 
it for me. 

But my old man said one day, in the dressing-room, when 
he was getting into his street clothes, 'None of these things are 
horses, Joe. They'd kill that bunch of skates for their hides 
and hoofs up at Paris.' That was the day he'd won the 
Premio Commercio with Lantorna shooting her out of the 
field the last hundred metres like pulling a cork out of a 

It was right after the Premio Commercio that we pulled 
out and left Italy. My old man and Holbrook and a fat wop 
in a straw hat that kept wiping his face with a handkerchief 
were having an argument at a table in the Galleria. They 


were all talking French and the two of them was after my 
old man about something. Finally he didn't say anything 
any more but just sat there and looked at Holbrook, and the 
two of them kept after him, first one talking and then the 
other, and the fat wop always butting in on Holbrook. 

'You go out and buy me a Sportsman, will you, Joe?' my 
old man said, and handed me a couple of soldi without 
looking away from Holbrook. 

So I went out of the Galleria and walked over to in front 
of the Scala and bought a paper, and carne back and stood a 
little way away because I didn't want to butt in and my old 
man was sitting back in his chair looking down at his coffee 
and fooling with a spoon and Holbrook and the big wop were 
standing and the big wop was wiping his face and shaking 
his head. And I came up and my old man acted just as 
though the two of them weren't standing there and said, 
"Want an ice, Joe?' Holbrook looked down at my old man 
and said slow and careful, 'You son of a bitch,' and he and 
the fat wop went out through the tables. 

My old man sat there and sort of smiled at me, but his face 
was white and he looked sick as hell and I was scared and 
felt sick inside because I knew something had happened and 
I didn't see how anybody could call rny old man a son of a 
bitch, and get away with it. My old man opened up the 
Sportsman and studied the handicaps for a while, and then he 
said, 'You got to take a lot of things in this world, Joe.' And 
three days later we left Milan for good on the Turin train for 
Paris, after an auction sale out in front of Turner's stables of 
everything we couldn't get into a trunk and a suitcase. 

We got into Paris early in, the morning in a long, dirty 
station the old man told me was the Gare de Lyon. Paris was 
an awful big town after Milan. Seems like in Milan every- 
body is going somewhere and all the trams run somewhere 
and there ain't any sort of a mix-up, but Paris is all balled 
up and they never do straighten it out. I got to like it, though, 
part of it, anyway, and say, it's got the best race courses in 


the world. Seems as though that were the thing that keeps 
it all going and about the only thing you can figure on is that 
every day the buses will be going out to whatever track they're 
running at, going right out through everything to the track. 
I never really got to know Paris well, because I just came in 
about once or twice a week with the old man from Maisons 
and he always sat at the Cafe de la Paix on the Opera side 
with the rest of the gang from Maisons and I guess that's 
one of the busiest parts of the town. But, say, it is funny that 
a big town like Paris wouldn't have a Galleria, isn't it? 

Well, we went out to live at Maisons-Lafitte, where just 
about everybody lives except the gang at Chantilly, with a 
Mrs. Meyers that runs a boarding house. Maisons is about the 
swellest place to live I've ever seen in all my life. The town 
ain't so much, but there's a lake and a swell forest that we 
used to go off bumming in all day, a couple of us kids, and my 
old man made me a sling shot and we got a lot of things with 
it but the best one was a magpie. Young Dick Atkinson shot 
a rabbit with it one day and we put it under a tree and were 
all sitting around and Dick had some cigarettes and all of a 
sudden the rabbit jumped up and beat it into the brush and 
we chased it but we couldn't find it. Gee, we had fun at 
Maisons. Mrs. Meyers used to give me lunch in the morning 
and I'd be gone all day. I learned to talk French quick. It's 
an easy language. 

As soon as we got to Maisons, my old man wrote to Milan 
for his licence and he was pretty worried till it came. He used 
to sit around the Cafe de Paris in Maisons with the gang, 
there were lots of guys he'd known when he rode up at Paris, 
before the war, lived at Maisons, and there's a lot of time to 
sit around because the work around a racing stable, for the 
jocks, that is, is all cleaned up by nine o'clock in the morning. 
They take the first bunch of skins out to gallop them at 5.30 
in the morning and they work the second lot at 8 o'clock. 
That means getting up early all right and going to bed early, 
too. If a jock's riding for somebody too, he can't go boozing 


around because the trainer always has an eye on him if he's a 
kid and if he ain't a kid he's always got an eye on himself. 
So mostly if a jock ain't working he sits around the Caf6 de 
Paris with the gang and they can all sit around about two or 
three hours in front of some drink like a vermouth and seltz 
and they talk and tell stories and shoot pool &nd it's sort of 
like a club or the Galleria in Milan. Only it ain't really like 
the Galleria because there everybody is going by all the time 
and there's everybody around at the tables. 

Well, my old man got his licence all right. They sent it 
through to him without a word and he rode a couple of times. 
Amiens, up country and that sort of thing, but he didn't seem 
to get any engagement. Everybody liked him and whenever 
I'd come into the Cafe in the forenoon I'd find somebody 
drinking with him because my old man wasn't tight like most 
of these jockies that have got the first dollar they made riding 
at the World's Fair in St. Louis in nineteen ought four. That's 
what my old man would say when he'd kid George Burns. 
But it seemed like everybody steered clear of giving my old 
man any mounts. 

We went out to wherever they were running every day 
with the car from Maisons and that was the most fun of all. 
I was glad when the horses came back from Deauville and 
the summer. Even though it meant no more bumming in the 
woods, 'cause then we'd ride to Enghien or Tremblay or St. 
Cloud and watch them from the trainers' and jockeys' stand. 
I sure learned about racing from going out with that gang 
and the fun of it was going every day. 

I remember once out at St. Cloud. It was a big two hun- 
dred thousand franc race with seven entries and War Cloud 
a big favourite. I went around to the paddock to see the 
horses with my old man and you never saw such horses. This 
War Cloud is a great big yellow horse that looks just like 
nothing but run. I never saw such a horse. He was being led 
around the paddocks with his head down and when he went 
by me I felt all hollow inside he was so beautiful. There 


never was such a wonderful, lean, running built horse. And 
he went around the paddock putting his feet just so and quiet 
and careful and moving easy like he knew just what he had to 
do and not jerking and standing up on his legs and getting 
wild eyed like you see these selling platers with a shot of dope 
in them. The 'crowd was so thick I couldn't see him again 
except just his legs going by and some yellow and my old 
man started out through the crowd and I followed him over 
to the jocks' dressing-room back in the trees and there was a 
big crowd around there, too, but the man at the door in a 
derby nodded to my old man and we got in and everybody 
was sitting around and getting dressed and pulling shirts 
over their heads and pulling boots on and it all smelled 
hot and sweaty and linimenty and outside was the crowd 
looking in. 

The old man went over and sat down beside George 
Gardner that was getting into his pants and said, 'What's 
the dope, George?' just in an ordinary tone of voice, 'cause 
there ain't any use him feeling around because George 
either can tell him or he can't tell him. 

'He won't win,' George says very low, leaning over and 
buttoning the bottoms of his breeches. 

'Who will?' my old man says, leaning over close so nobody 
can hear. 

'Foxless,' George says, 'and if he does, save me a couple of 

My old man says something in a regular voice to George 
and George says, 'Don't ever bet on anything I tell you,' 
kidding like, and we beat it out and through all the crowd 
that was looking in, over to the 100 franc mutuel machine. 
But I knew something big was up because George is War 
Cloud's jockey. On the way he gets one of the yellow odds- 
sheets with the starting-prices on and War Cloud is only 
paying 5 for 10, Cefisidote is next at 3 to i and fifth down the 
list this Foxless at 8 to i . My old man bets five thousand on 
Foxless to win and puts on a thousand to place and we went 



around back of the grandstand to go up the stairs and get a 
place to watch the race. 

We were jammed in tight and first a man in a long coat 
with a grey tall hat and a whip folded up in his hand came 
out and then one after another the horses, with the jocks up 
and a stable boy holding the bridle on each side and walking 
along, followed the old guy. That big yellow horse War 
Cloud came first. He didn't look so big when you first looked 
at him until you saw the length of his legs and the whole way 
he's built and the way he moves. Gosh, I never saw such a 
horse. George Gardner was riding him and they moved 
along slow, back of the old guy in the grey tall hat that 
walked along like he was a ring master in a circus. Back of 
War Cloud, moving along smooth and yellow in the sun, 
was a good looking black with a nice head with Tommy 
Archibald riding him; and after the black was a string of five 
more horses all moving along slow in a procession past the 
grandstand and the pesage. My old man said the black was 
Fcpdess and I took a good look at him and he was a nice- 
looking horse, all right, but nothing like War Cloud. 

Everybody cheered War Cloud when he went by and he 
sure was one swell-looking horse. The procession of them 
went around on the other side past the pelouse and then 
back up to the near end of the course and the circus master 
had the stable boys turn them loose one after another so they 
could gallop by the stands on their way up to the post and 
let everybody have a good look at them. They weren't at 
the post hardly any time at all when the gong started and 
you could see them way off across the infield all in a bunch 
starting on the first swing like a lot of little toy horses. I 
was watching them through the glasses and War Cloud was 
running well back, with one of the bays making the pace. 
They swept down and around and came pounding past and 
War Cloud was way back when they passed us and this 
Foxless horse in front and going smooth. Gee, it's awful 
when they go by you and then you have to watch them go 


farther away and get smaller and smaller and then all 
bunched up on the turns and then come around towards 
into the stretch and you feel like swearing and god-damming 
worse and worse. Finally they made the last turn and came 
into the straightaway with this Foxlcss horse way out in 
front. Everybody was looking funny and saying 'War Cloud' 
in sort of a sick way and them pounding nearer down the 
stretch, and then something came out of the pack right into 
my glasses like a horse-headed yellow streak and everybody 
began to yell 'War Cloud' as though they were crazy. Wai- 
Cloud came on faster than I'd ever seen anything in my life 
and pulled up on Foxless that was going fast as any black 
horse could go with the jock flogging hell out of him with the 
gad and they were right dead neck and neck for a second but 
War Cloud seemed going about twice as fast with those great 
jumps and that head out but it was while they were neck 
and neck that they passed the winning post and when the 
numbers went up in the slots the first one was 2 and that 
meant that Foxless had won. 

I felt all trembly and funny inside and then we were all 
jammed in with the people going downstairs to stand in front 
of the board where they'd post what Foxless paid. Honest, 
watching the race I'd forgot how much my old man had bet 
on Foxless. I'd wanted War Cloud to win so damned bad. 
But now it was all over it was swell to know we had the 

'Wasn't it a swell race, Dad?' I said to him. 

He looked at me sort of funny with his derby on the back 
of his head. 'George Gardner's a swell jockey all right,' he 
said. 'It sure took a great jock to keep that War Cloud horse 
from winning.' 

Of course I knew it was funny all the time. But my old 
man saying that right out like that sure took the kick all out 
of it for me and I didn't get the real kick back again ever, 
even when they posted the numbers upon the board and the 
bell rang to pay off and we saw that Foxless paid 67.50 for 10. 


All round people were saying, Toor War Cloud! Poor War 
Cloud!' And I thought, I wish I were a jockey and could 
have rode him instead of that son of a bitch. And that was 
funny, thinking of George Gardner as a son of a bitch be- 
cause I'd always liked him and besides he'd given us the 
winner, but I guess that's what he is, all right. 

My old man had a big lot of money after that race and he 
took to coming into Paris oftener. If they raced at Tremblay 
he'd have them drop him in town on their way back to 
Maisons and he and I'd sit out in front of the Cafe de la Paix 
and watch the people go by. It's funny sitting there. There's 
streams of people going by and all sorts of guys come up and 
want to sell you things, and I loved to sit there with my old 
man. That was when we'd have the most fun. Guys would 
come by selling funny rabbits that jumped if you squeezed a 
bulb and they'd come up to us and my old man would kid 
with them. He could talk French just like English and all 
those kind of guys knew him 'cause you can always tell a 
jockey and then we always sat at the same table and they 
got used to seeing us there. There were guys selling matri- 
monial papers and girls selling rubber eggs that when you 
squeezed them a rooster came out of them and one old 
wormy-looking guy that went by with postcards of Paris, 
showing them to everybody, and, of course, nobody ever 
bought any, and then he would come back and show the 
under side of the pack and they would all be smutty postcards 
and lots of people would dig down and buy them. 

Gee, I remember the funny people that used to go by. 
Girls around supper time looking for somebody to take them 
out to eat and they'd speak to my old man and he'd make 
some joke at them in French and they'd pat me on the head 
and go on. Once there was an American woman sitting with 
her kid daughter at the next table to us and they were both 
eating ices and I kept looking at the girl and she was awfully 
good looking and I smiled at her and she smiled at me but 
that was all that ever came of it because I looked for her 


mother and her every day and I made up ways that I was 
going to speak to her and I wondered if I got to know her if 
her mother would let me take her out to Auteuil or Tremblay 
but I never saw either of them again. Anyway, I guess it 
wouldn't have been any good, anyway, because looking back 
on it I rcmeniber the way I thought out would be best to 
speak to her was to say, Tardon me, but perhaps I can give 
you a winner at Enghicn to-day?' and, after all, maybe she 
would have thought I was a tout instead of really trying to 
give her a winner. 

We'd sit at the Cafe de la Paix, my old man and me, and 
we had a big drag with the waiter because my old man drank 
whisky and it cost five francs, and that meant a good tip when 
the saucers were counted up. My old man was drinking more 
than I'd ever seen him, but he wasn't riding at all now and 
besides he said that whisky kept his weight down. But I 
noticed he was putting it on, all right, just the same. He'd 
busted away from his old gang out at Maisons and seemed 
to like just sitting around on the boulevard with me. But he 
was dropping money every day at the track. He'd feel sort of 
doleful after the last race, if he'd lost on the day, until we'd 
get to our table and he'd have his first whisky and then he'd 
be fine. 

He'd be reading the Paris-Sport and he'd look over at me 
and say, 'Where's your girl, Joe?' to kid me on account I had 
told him about the girl that day at the next table. And I'd get 
red, but I liked being kidded about her. It gave me a good 
feeling. 'Keep your eye peeled for her, Joe,' he'd say, 'she'll 
be back.' 

He'd ask me questions about things and some of the things 
I'd say he'd laugh. And then he'd get started talking about 
things. About riding down in Egypt, or at St. Moritz on the 
ice before my mother died, and about during the war when 
they had regular races down in the south of France without 
any purses, or betting or crowds or anything just to keep the 
breed up. Regular races with the jocks riding hell out of the 


horses. Gee, I could listen to my old man talk by the hour, 
especially when he'd had a couple or so of drinks. He'd tell 
me about when he was a boy in Kentucky and going coon 
hunting, and the old days in the States before everything went 
on the bum there. And he'd say, 'Joe, when we've got a 
decent stake, you're going back there to the States and go to 

'What've I got to go back there to go to school for when 
everything's on the bum there?' I'd ask him. 

'That's different,' he'd say and get the waiter over and pay 
the pile of saucers and we'd get a taxi to the Gare St. Lazare 
and get on the train out to Maisons. 

One day at Auteuil after a selling steeplechase, my old man 
bought in the winner for 30,000 francs. He had to bid a 
little to get him but the stable let the horse go finally and my 
old man had his permit and his colours in a week. Gee, I 
felt proud when my old man was an owner. He fixed it up 
for stable space with Charles Drake and cut out coming in 
to Paris, and started his running and sweating out again, and 
him and I were the whole stable gang. Our horse's name was 
Gilford, he was Irish bred and a nice, sweet jumper. My old 
man figured that training him and riding him, himself, he 
was a good investment. I was proud of everything and I 
thought Gilford was as good a horse as War Cloud. He was a 
good, solid jumper, a bay, with plenty of speed on the flat, if 
you asked him for it, and he was a nice-looking horse, too. 

Gee, I was fond of him. The first time he started with my 
old man up, he finished third in a 2500 metre hurdle race and 
when my old man got off him, all sweating and happy in the 
place stall, and went in to weigh, I felt as proud of him as 
though it was the first race he'd ever placed in. You see, 
when a guy ain't been riding for a long time, you can't make 
yourself really believe that he has ever rode. The whole 
thing was different now, 'cause down in Milan, even big 
races never seemed to make any difference to my old man, if 
he won he wasn't ever excited or anything, and now it was 


so I couldn't hardly sleep the night before a race and I knew 
my old man was excited, too, even if he didn't show it. 
Riding for yourself makes an awful difference. 

Second time Gilford and my old man started, was a rainy 
Sunday at Auteuil, in the Prix du Marat, a 4500 metre 
steeplechase. As soon as he'd gone out I beat it up in the 
stand with the new glasses my old man had bought for me to 
watch them. They started way over at the far end of the 
course and there was some trouble at the barrier. Something 
with goggle blinders on was making a great fuss and rearing 
around and busted the barrier once, but I could see my old 
man in our black jacket, with a white cross and a black cap, 
sitting up on Gilford, and patting him with his hand. Then 
they were off in a jump and out of sight behind the trees and 
the gong going for dear life and the pari-mutuel wickets 
rattling down. Gosh, I was so excited, I was afraid to look 
at them, but I fixed the glasses on the place where they would 
come out back of the trees and then out they came with the 
old black jacket going third and they all sailing over the 
jump like birds. Then they went out of sight again and then 
they came pounding out and down the hill and all going 
nice and sweet and easy and taking the fence smooth in a 
bunch, and moving away from us all solid. Looked as though 
you could walk across on their backs they were all so bunched 
and going so smooth. Then they bellied over the big double 
Bullfinch and something came down. I couldn't see who it 
was, but in a minute the horse was up and galloping free 
and the field, all bunched still, sweeping around the long left 
turn into the straightaway. They jumped the stone wall and 
came jammed down the stretch toward the big water-jump 
right in front of the stands. I saw them coming and hollered 
at my old man as he went by, and he was leading by about a 
length and riding way out, and light as a monkey, and they 
were racing for the water-jump. They took off over the big 
hedge of the water-jump in a pack and then there was a 
crash, and two horses pulled sideways out of it, and kept on 

i8 4 MY OLD MAN 

going, and three others were piled up. I couldn't see my old 
man anywhere. One horse kneed himself up and the jock 
had hold of the bridle and mounted and went slamming on 
after the place money. The other horse was up and away 
by himself, jerking his head and galloping with the bridle 
rein hanging and the jock staggered over to one side of the 
track against the fence. Then Gilford rolled over to one side 
off my old man and got up and started to run on three legs 
with his front off hoof dangling and there was my old man 
laying there on the grass flat out with his face up and blood 
all over the side of his head. I ran down the stand and 
bumped into a jam of people and got to the rail and a cop 
grabbed me and held me and two big stretcher-bearers were 
going out after my old man and around on the other side of 
the course I saw three horses, strung way out, coming out of 
the trees and taking the jump. 

My old man was dead when they brought him in and while 
a doctor was listening to his heart with a thing plugged in 
his ears, I heard a shot up the track that meant they'd killed 
Gilford. I lay down beside my old man, when they carried 
the stretcher into the hospital room, and hung on to the 
stretcher and cried and cried, and he looked so white and 
gone and so awfully dead, and I couldn't help feeling that if 
my old man was dead maybe they didn't need to have shot 
Gilford. His hoof might have got well. I don't know. I 
loved my old man so much. 

Then a couple of guys came in and one of them patted me 
on the back and then went over and looked at my old man 
and then pulled a sheet off the cot and spread it over him; 
and the other was telephoning in French for them to send the 
ambulance to take him out to Maisons. And I couldn't stop 
crying, crying and choking, sort of, and George Gardner 
came in and sat down beside me on the floor and put his arm 
around me and says, 'Come on, Joe, old boy. Get up and 
'we'll go out and wait for the ambulance.' 

George and I went out to the gate and I was trying to stop 


bawling and George wiped off my face with his handkerchief 
and we were standing back a little ways while the crowd was 
going out of the gate and a couple of guys stopped near us 
while we were waiting for the crowd to get through the gate 
and one of them was counting a bunch of mutuel tickets and 
he said, 'Weil, Butler got his, all right.' 

The other guy said, C I don't give a good goddam if he did, 
the crook. He had it coming to him on the stuff he's pulled.' 

'I'll say he had,' said the other guy, and tore the bunch of 
tickets in two. 

And George Gardner looked at me to see if I'd heard and 
I had all right, and he said, 'Don't you listen to what those 
bums said, Joe. Your old man was one swell guy.' 

But I don't know. Seems like when they get started they 
don't leave a guy nothing. 

Maera lay still ', his head on his arms, his face in the sand. He felt 
warm and sticky from the bleeding. Each time he felt the horn coming. 
Sometimes the bull only bumped him with his head. Once the horn 
went all the way through him and he felt it go into the sand. Someone 
had the bull by the tail. They were swearing at him and flopping the 
cape in his face. Then the bull was gone. Some men picked Maera up 
and started to run with him toward the barriers through the gate out 
the passageway around under the grandstand to the infirmary. They 
laid Maera down on a cot and one of the men went out for the doctor. 
The others stood around. The doctor came running from the corral 
where he had been sewing up picador horses. He had to stop and wash 
his hands. There was a great shouting going on in the grandstand 
overhead. Maera felt everything getting larger and larger and then 
smaller and smaller. Then it got larger and larger and larger and 
then smaller and smaller. Then everything commenced to run faster 
and faster as when they speed up on a cinematograph film. Then he 
was dead. 


THE train went on up the track out of sight, around one of 
the hills of burnt timber. Nick sat down on the bundle of 
canvas and bedding the baggage man had pitched out of the 
door of the baggage car. There was no town, nothing but the 
rails and the burned-over country. The thirteen saloons that 
had lined the one street of Seney had not left a trace. The 
foundations of the Mansion House hotel stuck up above the 
ground. The stone was chipped and split by the fire. It was 
all that was left of the town of Seney. Even the surface had 
been burned off the ground. 

Nick looked at the burned-over stretch of hill-side, where 
he had expected to find the scattered houses of the town and 
then walked down the railroad track to the bridge over the 
river. The river was there. It swirled against the log spiles 

1 86 


of the bridge. Nick looked down into the clear, brown water, 
coloured from the pebbly bottom, and watched the trout 
keeping themselves steady in the current with wavering fins. 
As he watched them they changed their positions by quick 
angles, only to hold steady in the fast water again. Nick 
watched them a long time. 

He watched them holding themselves with their noses into 
the current, many trout in deep, fast moving water, slightly 
distorted as he watched far down through the glassy convex 
surface of the pool, its surface pushing and swelling smooth 
against the resistance of the log-driven piles of the bridge. At, 
the bottom of the pool were the big trout. Nick did not see 
them at first. Then he saw them at the bottom of the pool, 
big trout looking to hold themselves on the gravel bottom in 
a varying mist of gravel and sand, raised in spurts by the 

Nick looked down into the pool from the bridge. It was a 
hot day. A kingfisher flew up the stream. It was a long time 
since Nick had looked into a stream and seen trout. They 
were very satisfactory. As the shadow of the kingfisher moved 
up the stream, a big trout shot upstream in a long angle, only 
his shadow marking the angle, then lost his shadow as he 
came through the surface of the water, caught the sun, and 
then, as he went back into the stream under the surface, his 
shadow seemed to float down the stream with the current, 
unresisting, to his post under the bridge where he tightened 
facing up into the current. 

Nick's heart tightened as the trout moved. He felt all the 
old feeling. 

He turned and looked down the stream. It stretched away, 
pebbly-bottomed with shallows and big boulders and a deep 
pool as it curved away around the foot of a bluff. 

Nick walked back up the ties to where his pack lay in the 
cinders beside the railway track. He was happy. He ad- 
justed the pack harness around the bundle, pulling straps 
tight, slung the pack on his back, got his arms through the 


shoulder straps and took some of the pull off his shoulders 
by leaning his forehead against the wide band of the tump- 
line. Still, it was too heavy. It was much too heavy. He 
had his leather rod-case in his hand and leaning forward to 
keep the weight of the pack high on his shoulders he walked 
along the road that paralleled the railway track, leaving the 
burned town behind in the heat, and then turned off around 
a hill with a high, fire-scarred hill on either side on to a road 
that went back into the country. He walked along the road 
feeling the ache from the pull of the heavy pack. The road 
climbed steadily. It was hard work walking up-hill. His 
muscles ached and the day was hot, but Nick felt happy. 
He felt he had left everything behind, the need for thinking, 
the need to write, other needs. It was all back of him. 

From the time he had gotten down off the train and the 
baggage man had thrown his pack out of the open car door 
things had been different. Seney was burned, the country 
was burned over and changed, but it did not matter. It 
could not all be burned. He knew that. He hiked along the 
road, sweating in the sun, climbing to cross the range of hills 
that separated the railway from the pine plains. 

The road ran on, dipping occasionally, but always climb- 
ing. Nick went on up. Finally the road after going parallel 
to the burnt hill-side reached the top. Nick leaned back 
against a stump and slipped out of the pack harness. Ahead 
of him, as far as he could see, was the pine plain. The burned 
country stopped off at the left with the range of hills. On 
ahead islands of dark pine trees rose out of the plain. Far off 
to the left was the line of the river. Nick fallowed it with his 
eye and caught glints of the water in the sun. 

There was nothing but the pine plain ahead of him, until 
the far blue hills that marked the Lake Superior height of 
land. He could hardly see them, faint and far away in the 
heat-light over the plain. If he looked too steadily they were 
gone. But if he only half-looked they were there, the far-off 
hills of the height of land. 


Nick sat down against the charred stump and smoked a 
cigarette. His pack balanced on the top of the stump, harness 
holding ready, a hollow moulded in it from his back. Nick 
sat smoking, looking out over the country. He did not need 
to get his map out. He knew where he was from the position 
of the river. 

As he smoked, his legs stretched out in front of him, he 
noticed a grasshopper walk along the ground and up on to 
his woollen sock. The grasshopper was black. As he had 
walked along the road, climbing, he had started many grass- 
hoppers from the dust. They were all black. They were not 
the big grasshoppers with yellow and black or red and black 
wings whirring out from their black wing sheathing as they 
fly up. These were just ordinary hoppers, but all a sooty 
black in colour. Nick had wondered about them as he 
walked, without really thinking about them. Now, as he 
watched the black hopper that was nibbling at the wool of 
his sock with its fourway lip, he realized that they had all 
turned black from living in the burned-over land. He 
realized that the fire must have come the year before, but the 
grasshoppers were all black now. He wondered how long 
they would stay that way. 

Carefully he reached his hand down and took hold of the 
hopper by the wings. He turned him up, all his legs walking 
in the air, and looked at his jointed belly. Yes, it was black 
too, iridescent where the back and head were dusty. 

'Go on, hopper/ Nick said, speaking out loud for the first 
time. Tly away somewhere.' 

He tossed the grasshopper up into the air and watched him 
sail away to a charcoal stump across the road. 

Nick stood up. He leaned his back against the weight of 
his pack where it rested upright on the stump and got his 
arms through the shoulder straps. He stood with the pack 
on his back on the brow of the hill looking out across the 
country toward the distant river and then struck down the 
hill-side away from the road. Underfoot the ground was good 


walking. Two hundred yards down the hill-side the fire line 
stopped. Then it was sweet fern, growing ankle high, to 
walk through, and clumps of jack pines; a long undulating 
country with frequent rises and descents, sandy underfoot 
and the country alive again. 

Nick kept his direction by the sun. He knew where he 
wanted to strike the river and he kept on through the pine 
plain, mounting small rises to see other rises ahead of him 
and sometimes from the top of a rise a great solid island of 
pines off to his right or his left. He broke off some sprigs of 
the heathery sweet fern, and put them under his pack straps. 
The chafing crushed it and he smellcd it as he walked. 

He was tired and very hot, walking across the uneven, 
shadelcss pine plain. At any time he knew he would strike 
the river by turning off to his left. It could not be more than 
a mile away. But he kept on toward the north to hit the 
river as far upstream as he could go in one day's walking. 

For some time as he walked Nick had been in sight of one 
of the big islands of pine standing out above the rolling high 
ground he was crossing. He dipped down and then as he 
came slowly up to the crest of the ridge he turned and made 
toward the pine trees. 

There was no underbrush in the island of pine trees The 
trunks of the trees went straight up or slanted toward each 
other. The trunks were straight and brown without branches. 
The branches were high above. Some interlocked to make a 
solid shadow on the brown forest floor. Around the grove of 
trees was a bare space. It was brown and soft underfoot as 
Nick walked on it. This was the over-lapping of the pine 
needle floor, extending out beyond the width of the high 
branches. The trees had grown tall and the branches moved 
high, leaving in the sun this bare space they had once 
covered with shadow. Sharp at the edge of this extension 
of the forest floor commenced the sweet fern. 

Nick slipped off his pack and lay down in the shade. He 
lay on his back and looked up into the pine trees. His neck 


and back and the small of his back rested as he stretched. 
The earth felt good against his back. He looked up at the 
sky, through the branches, and then shut his eyes. He 
opened them and looked up again. There was a wind high 
up in the branches. He shut his eyes again and went to 

Nick woke stiff and cramped. The sun was nearly down. 
His pack was heavy and the straps painful as he lifted it on. 
He leaned over with the pack on and picked up the leather 
rod-case and started out from the pine trees across the sweet 
fern swale, toward the river. He knew it could not be more 
than a mile. 

He came down a hill-side covered with stumps into a 
meadow. At the edge of the meadow flowed the river. Nick 
was glad to get to the river. He walked upstream through 
the meadow. His trousers were soaked with the dew as he 
walked. After the hot day, the dew had come quickly and 
heavily. The river made no sound. It was too fast and 
smooth. At the edge of the meadow, before he mounted to 
a piece of high ground to make camp, Nick looked down the 
river at the trout rising. They were rising to insects come 
from the swamp on the other side of the stream when the sun 
went down. The trout jumped out of water to take them. 
While Nick walked through the little stretch of meadow 
alongside the stream, trout had jumped high out of water. 
Now as he looked down the river, the insects must be settling 
on the surface, for the trout were feeding steadily all down 
the stream. As far down the long stretch as he could see, 
the trout were rising, making circles all down the surface of 
the water, as though it were starting to rain. 

The ground rose, wooded and sandy, to overlook the 
meadow, the stretch of river and the swamp. Nick dropped 
his pack and rod-case and looked for a level piece of ground. 
He was very hungry and he wanted to make his camp before 
he cooked. Between two jack-pines, the ground was quite 
level. He took the axe out of the pack and chopped out two 


projecting roots. That levelled a piece of ground large 
enough to sleep on. He smoothed out the sandy soil with his 
hand and pulled all the sweet fern bushes by their roots. His 
hands smelled good from the sweet fern. He smoothed the 
uprooted earth. He did not want anything making lumps 
under the blankets. When he had the ground smooth, he 
spread his three blankets. One he folded double, next to the 
ground. The other two he spread on top. 

With the axe he slit off a bright slab of pine from one of the 
stumps and split it into pegs for the tent. He wanted them 
long and solid to hold in the ground. With the tent unpacked 
and spread on the ground, the pack, leaning against a jack- 
pine, looked much smaller. Nick tied the rope that served the 
tent for a ridge-pole to the trunk of one of the pine trees and 
pulled the tent up off the ground with the other end of the 
rope and tied it to the other pine. The tent hung on the rope 
like a canvas blanket on a clothes line. Nick poked a pole 
he had cut up under the back peak of the canvas and then 
made it a tent by pegging out the sides. He pegged the sides 
out taut and drove the pegs deep, hitting them down into 
the ground with the flat of the axe until the rope loops were 
buried and the canvas was drum tight. 

Across the open mouth of the tent Nick fixed cheesecloth 
to keep out mosquitoes. He crawled inside under the mos- 
quito bar with various things from the pack to put at the 
head of the bed under the slant of the canvas. Inside the tent 
the light came through the brown canvas. It smelled plea- 
santly of canvas. Already there was something mysterious 
and home-like. Nick was happy as he crawled inside the tent. 
He had not been unhappy all day. This was different though. 
Now things were done. There had been this to do. Now it 
was done. It had been a hard trip. He was very tired. That 
was done. He had made his camp. He was settled. Nothing 
could touch him. It was a good place to camp. He was there, 
in the good place. He was in his home where he had made 
it. Now he was hungry. 


He came out, crawling under the cheesecloth. It was 
quite dark outside. It was lighter in the tent. 

Nick went over to the pack and found, with his fingers, a 
long nail in a paper sack of nails, in the bottom of the pack* 
He drove it into the pine tree, holding it close and hitting it 
gently with the flat of the axe. He hung the pack up on the 
nail. All his supplies were in the pack. They were off the 
ground and sheltered now. 

Nick was hungry. He did not believe he had ever been 
hungrier. He opened and emptied a can of pork and beans 
and a can of spaghetti into the frying-pan. 

'I've got a right to eat this kind of stuff, if I'm willing to 
carry it,' Nick said. His voice sounded strange in the darken- 
ing woods. He did not speak again. 

He started a fire with some chunks of pine he got with the 
axe from a stump. Over the fire he stuck a wire grill, push- 
ing the four legs down into the ground with his boot. Nick 
put the frying-pan on the grill over the flames. He was 
hungrier. The beans and spaghetti warmed. Nick stirred 
them and mixed them together. They began to bubble, 
making little bubbles that rose with difficulty to the surface. 
There was a good smell. Nick got out a bottle of tomato 
catchup and cut four slices of bread. The little bubbles 
were coming faster now, Nick sat down beside the fire and 
lifted the frying-pan off. He poured about half the contents 
out into the tin plate. It spread slowly on the plate. Nick 
knew it was too hot. He poured on some tomato catchup. 
He knew the beans and spaghetti were still too hot. He 
looked at the fire, then at the tent, he was not going to spoil 
it all by burning his tongue. For years he had never enjoyed 
fried bananas because he had never been able to wait for 
them to cool. His tongue was very sensitive. He was very 
hungry. Across the river in the swamp, in the almost dark, 
he saw a mist rising. He looked at the tent once more. All 
right. He took a full spoonful from the plate. 

'Chrise,' Nick said. 'Geezus Chrise,' he said happily. 


He ate the whole plateful before he remembered the bread. 
Nick finished the second plateful with the bread, mopping 
the plate shiny. He had not eaten since a cup of coffee and 
a ham sandwich in the station restaurant at St. Ignace. It 
had been a very fine experience. He had been that hungry 
before, but had not been able to satisfy it. He could have 
made camp hours before if he had wanted to. There were 
plenty of good places to camp on the river. But this was 

Nick tucked two big chips of pine under the grill. The fire 
flared up. He had forgotten to get water for the coffee. Out 
of the pack he got a folding canvas bucket and walked down 
the hill, across the edge of the meadow, to the stream. The 
other bank was in the white mist. The grass was wet and 
cold as he knelt on the bank and dipped the canvas bucket 
into the stream. It bellied and pulled hard in the current. 
The water was ice cold. Nick rinsed the bucket and carried 
it full up to the camp. Up away from the stream it was not 
so cold. 

Nick drove another big nail and hung up the bucket full 
of water. He dipped the coffee pot half full, put some more 
chips under the grill on to the fire and put the pot on. He 
could not remember which way he made coffee. He could 
remember an argument about it with Hopkins, but not which 
side he had taken. He decided to bring it to a boil. He 
remembered now that was Hopkins's way. He had once 
argued about everything with Hopkins. While he waited 
for the coffee to boil, he opened a small can of apricots. He 
liked to open cans. He emptied the can of apricots out into a 
tin cup. While he watched the coffee on the fire, he drank 
the juice syrup of the apricots, carefully at first to keep from 
spilling, then meditatively, sucking the apricots down. They 
were better than fresh apricots. 

The coffee boiled as he watched. The lid came up and 
coffee and grounds ran down the side of the pot. Nick took 
it off the grill. It was a triumph for Hopkins. He put sugar 


in the empty apricot cup and poured some of the coffee out 
to cool. It was too hot to pour and he used his hat to hold 
the handle of the coffee pot. He would not let it steep in the 
pot at all. Not the first cup. It should be straight Hopkins 
all the way. Hop deserved that. He was a very serious coffee 
drinker. He \^as the most serious man Nick had ever known. 
Not heavy, serious. That was a long time ago. Hopkins 
spoke without moving his lips. He had played polo. He 
made millions of dollars in Texas. He had borrowed car 
fare to go to Chicago, when the wire came that his first big 
well had come in. He could have wired for money. That 
would have been too slow. They called Hop's girl the Blonde 
Venus. Hop did not mind because she was not his real girl. 
Hopkins said very confidently that none of them would make 
fun of his real girl. He was right. Hopkins went away when 
the telegram came. That was on the Black River. It took 
eight days for the telegram to reach him. Hopkins gave 
away his .22 calibre Colt automatic pistol to Nick. He gave 
his camera to Bill. It was to remember him always by. They 
were all going fishing again next summer. The Hop Head 
was rich. He would get a yacht and they would all cruise 
along the north shore of Lake Superior. He was excited 
but serious. They said good-bye and all felt bad. It broke up 
the trip. They never saw Hopkins again. That was a long 
time ago on the Black River. 

Nick drank the coffee, the coffee according to Hopkins. 
The coffee was bitter. Nick laughed. It made a good ending 
to the story. His mind was starting to work. He knew he 
could choke it because he was tired enough. He spilled the 
coffee out of the pot and shook the grounds loose into the 
fire. He lit a cigarette and went inside the tent. He took off 
his shoes and trousers, sitting on the blankets, rolled the 
shoes up inside the trousers for a pillow and got in between 
the blankets. 

Out through the front of the tent he watched the glow of 
the fire, when the night wind blew on it. It was a quiet 


night. The swamp was perfectly quiet. Nick stretched 
under the blanket comfortably. A mosquito hummed close 
to his ear. Nick sat up and lit a match. The mosquito was on 
the canvas, over his head. Nick moved the match quickly up 
to it. The mosquito made a satisfactory hiss in the flame. The 
match went out. Nick lay down again unddr the blanket. 
He turned on his side and shut his eyes. He was sleepy. He 
felt sleep coming. He curled up under the blanket and went 
to sleep. 

They hanged Sam Cardinella at six o'clock in the morning in the 
corridor of the county jail. The corridor was high and narrow with 
tiers of cells on either side. All the cells were occupied. The men 
had been brought in for the hanging. Five men sentenced to be 
hanged were in the five top cells. Three of the men to be hanged were 
negroes. They were very frightened. One of the white men sat on his 
cot with his head in his hands. The other lay flat on his cot with a 
blanket wrapped around his head. 

They came out on to the gallows through a door in the wall. 
There were seven of them including two priests. They were carrying 
Sam Cardinella. He had been like that since about four o'clock in 
the morning. 

While they were strapping his legs together two guards held him 
up and the two priests were whispering to him. 'Be a man, my son, 
said one priest. When they came toward him with the cap to go over 
his head Sam Cardinella lost control of his sphincter muscle. The 
guards who had been holding him up both dropped him. They were 
both disgusted. 'How about a chair, WillT asked one of the guards. 
'Better get one? said a man in a derby hat. 

When they all stepped back on the scaffolding back of the drop, 
which was very heavy, built of oak and steel and swung on ball 
bearings, Sam Cardinella was left sitting there strapped tight, the 
younger of the two priests kneeling beside the chair. The priest 
skipped back on to the scaffolding, just before the drop fell. 


IN the morning the sun was up and the tent was starting to 
get hot. Nick crawled out under the mosquito netting 
stretched across the mouth of the tent, to look at the morning. 
The grass was wet on his hands as he came out. He held his 
trousers and his shoes in his hands. The sun was just up over 
the hill. There was the meadow, the river and the swamp. 



There were birch trees in the green of the swamp on the 
other side of the river. 

The river was clear and smoothly fast in the early morning. 
Down about two hundred yards were three logs all the way 
across the stream. They made the water smooth and deep 
above them. As Nick watched, a mink crossed the river on 
the logs and went into the swamp. Nick was excited. He 
was excited by the early morning and the river. He was 
really too hurried to eat breakfast, but he knew he must. He 
built a little fire and put on the coffee pot. 

While the water was heating in the pot he took an empty 
bottle and went down over the edge of the high ground to 
the meadow. The meadow was wet with dew and Nick 
wanted to catch grasshoppers for bait before the sun dried 
the grass. He found plenty of good grasshoppers. They 
were at the base of the grass stems. Sometimes they clung 
to a grass stem. They were cold and wet with the dew, and 
could not jump until the sun warmed them. Nick picked 
them up, taking only the medium-sized brown ones, and 
put them into the bottle. He turned over a log and just 
under the shelter of the edge were several hundred hoppers. 
It was a grasshopper lodging house. Nick put about fifty 
of the medium browns into the bottle. While he was picking 
up the hoppers the others warmed in the sun and com- 
menced to hop away. They flew when they hopped. At 
first they made one flight and stayed stiff when they landed, 
as though they were dead. 

Nick knew that by the time he was through with breakfast 
they would be as lively as ever. Without dew in the grass it 
would take him all day to catch a bottle full of good grass- 
hoppers and he would have to crush many of them, slamming 
at them with his hat. He washed his hands at the stream. He 
was excited to be near it. Then he walked up to the tent. 
The hoppers were already jumping stiffly in the grass. In 
the bottle, warmed by th6 sun, they were jumping in a mass. 
Nick put in a pine stick as a cork. It plugged the mouth of 


the bottle enough, so the hoppers could not get out and left 
plenty of air passage. 

He had rolled the log back and knew he could get grass- 
hoppers there every morning. 

Nick laid the bottle full of jumping grasshoppers against a 
pine trunk. Rapidly he mixed some buckwheat flour with 
water and stirred it smooth, one cup of flour, one cup of 
water. He put a handful of coffee in the pot and dipped a 
lump of grease out of a can and slid it sputtering across the 
hot skillet. On the smoking skillet he poured smoothly the 
buckwheat batter. It spread like lava, the grease spitting 
sharply. Around the edges the buckwheat cake began to 
firm, then brown, then crisp. The surface was bubbling 
slowly to porousness. Nick pushed under the browned under 
surface with a fresh pine chip. He shook the skillet sideways 
and the cake was loose on the surface. I won't try and flop 
it, he thought. He slid the chip of clean wood all the way 
under the cake, and flopped it over on to its face. It sputtered 
in the pan. 

When it was cooked Nick regreased the skillet. He used all 
the batter. It made another big flapjack and one smaller one. 

Nick ate a big flapjack and a smaller one, covered with 
apple butter. He put apple butter on the third cake, folded 
it over twice, wrapped it in oiled paper and put it in his shirt 
pocket. He put the apple butter jar back in the pack and 
cut bread for two sandwiches. 

In the pack he found a big onion. He sliced it in two and 
peeled the silky outer skin. Then he cut one half into slices 
and made onion sandwiches. He wrapped them in oiled 
paper and buttoned them in the other pocket of his khaki 
shirt. He turned the skillet upside down on the grill, drank 
the coffee, sweetened and yellow brown with the condensed 
milk in it, and tidied up the camp. It was a good camp. 

Nick took his fly rod out of the leather rod-case, jointed it, 
and shoved the rod-case back into the tent. He put on the 
reel and threaded the line through the guides. He had to 


hold it from hand to hand, as he threaded it, or it would 
slip back through its own weight. It was a heavy, double 
tapered fly line. Nick had paid eight dollars for it a long 
time ago. It was made heavy to lift back in the air and 
come forward flat and heavy and straight to make it possible 
to cast a fly which has no weight. Nick operied the alumi- 
nium leader box. The leaders were coiled between the damp 
flannel pads. Nick had wet the pads at the water cooler on 
the train up to St. Ignace. In the damp pads the gut leaders 
had softened and Nick unrolled one and tied it by a loop 
at the end to the heavy fly line. He fastened a hook on the 
end of the leader. It was a small hook; very thin and 

Nick took it from his hook book, sitting with the rod across 
his lap. He tested the knot and the spring of the rod by 
pulling the line taut. It was a good feeling. He was careful 
not to let the hook bite into his finger. 

He started down to the stream, holding his rod, the bottle 
of grasshoppers hung from his neck by a thong tied in half 
hitches around the neck of the bottle. His landing net hung 
by a hook from his belt. Over his shoulder was a long flour 
sack tied at each corner into an car. The cord went over his 
shoulder. The sack flapped against his legs. 

Nick felt awkward and professionally happy with all his 
equipment hanging from him. The grasshopper bottle swung 
against his chest. In his shirt the breast pockets bulged 
against him with the lunch and his fly book. 

He stepped into the stream. It was a shock. His trousers 
clung tight to his legs. His shoes felt the gravel. The water 
was a rising cold shock. 

Rushing, the current sucked against his legs. Where he 
stepped in, the water was over his knees. He waded with the 
current. The gravel slid under his shoes. He looked down at 
the swirl of water below each leg and tipped up the bottle 
to get a grasshopper. 

The first grasshopper gave a jump in the neck of the bottle 


and went out into the water. He was sucked under in the 
whirl by Nick's right leg and came to the surface a little way 
downstream. He floated rapidly, kicking. In a quick circle, 
breaking the smooth surface of the water, he disappeared. A 
trout had taken him. 

Another hopper poked his face out of the bottle. His 
antennae wavered. He was getting his front legs out of the 
bottle to jump. Nick took him by the head and held him 
while he threaded the slim hook under his chin, down 
through his thorax and into the last segments of his abdomen. 
The grasshopper took hold of the hook with his front feet, 
spitting tobacco juice on it. Nick dropped him into the 

Holding the rod in his right hand he let out line against 
the pull of the grasshopper in the current. He stripped off 
line from the reel with his left hand and let it run free. He 
could see the hopper in the little waves of the current. It 
went out of sight. 

There was a tug on the line. Nick pulled against the taut 
line. It was his first strike. Holding the now living rod 
across the current, he brought in the line with his left hand. 
The rod bent in jerks, the trout pumping against the current. 
Nick knew it was a small one. He lifted the rod straight up 
in the air. It bowed with the pull. 

He saw the trout in the water jerking with his head and 
body against the shifting tangent of the line in the stream. 

Nick took the line in his left hand and pulled the trout, 
thumping tiredly against the current, to the surface. His 
back was mottled the clear, water-over-gravel colour, his 
side flashing in the sun. The rod under his right arm, Nick 
stooped, dipping his right hand into the current. He held 
the trout, never still, with his moist right hand, while he 
unhooked the barb from his mouth, then dropped him back 
into the stream. 

He hung unsteadily in the current, then settled to the 
bottom beside a stone. Nick reached down his hand to touch 


him, his arm to the elbow under water. The trout was steady 
in the moving stream, resting on the gravel, beside a stone. 
As Nick's fingers touched him, touched his smooth, cool, 
underwater feeling he was gone, gone in a shadow across 
the bottom of the stream. 

He's all right, Nick thought. He was only tired. 

He had wet his hand before he touched the trout, so he 
would not disturb the delicate mucus that covered him. If a 
trout was touched with a dry hand, a white fungus attacked 
the unprotected spot. Years before when he had fished 
crowded streams, with fly fishermen ahead of him and behind 
him, Nick had again and again come on dead trout, furry 
with white fungus, drifted against a rock, or floating belly up 
in some pool. Nick did not like to fish with other men on the 
river. Unless they were of your party, they spoiled it. 

He wallowed down the stream, above his knees in the 
current, through the fifty yards of shallow water above the 
pile of logs that crossed the stream. He did not rebait his 
hook and held it in his hand as he waded. He was certain he 
could catch small trout in the shallows, but Jie did not want 
them. There would be no big trout in the shallows this time 
of day. 

Now the water deepened up his thighs sharply and coldly. 
Ahead was the smooth dammed-back flood of water above 
the logs. The water was smooth and dark; on the left, the 
lower edge of the meadow; on the right the swamp. 

Nick leaned back against the current and took a hopper 
from the bottle. He threaded the hopper on the hook and 
spat on him for good luck. Then he pulled several yards of 
line from the reel and tossed the hopper out ahead on to the 
fast, dark water. It floated down towards the logs, then the 
weight of the line pulled the bait under the surface. Nick 
held the rod in his right hand, letting the line run out through 
his fingers. 

There was a long tug. Nick struck and the rod came alive 
and dangerous, bent double, the line tightening, coming 


out of water, tightening, all in a heavy, dangerous, steady 
pull. Nick felt the moment when the leader would break if 
the strain increased and let the line go. 

The reel racheted into a mechanical shriek as the line 
went out in a rush. Too fast. Nick could not check it, the 
line rushing out, the reel note rising as the line ran out. 

With the core of the reel showing, his heart feeling stopped 
with the excitement, leaning back against the current that 
mounted icily his thighs. Nick thumbed the reel hard with 
his left hand. It was awkward getting his thumb inside the 
fly reel frame. 

As he put on pressure the line tightened into sudden hard- 
ness and beyond the logs a huge trout went high out of water. 
As he jumped, Nick lowered the tip of the rod. But he felt, as 
he dropped the tip to ease the strain, the moment when the 
strain was too great; the hardness too tight. Of course, the 
leader had broken. There was no mistaking the feeling when 
all spring left the line and it became dry and hard. Then it 
went slack. 

His mouth dry, his heart down, Nick reeled in. He had 
never seen so big a trout. There was a heaviness, a power 
not to be held, and then the bulk of him, as he jumped. He 
looked as broad as a salmon. 

Nick's hand was shaky. He reeled in slowly. The thrill 
had been too much. He felt, vaguely, a little sick, as though 
it would be better to sit down. 

The leader had broken where the hook was tied to it. 
Nick took it in his hand. He thought of the trout somewhere 
on the bottom, holding himself steady over the gravel, far 
down below the light, under the logs, with the hook in his jaw. 
Nick knew the trout's teeth would cut through the snell of the 
hook. The hook would imbed itself in his jaw. He'd bet the 
trout was angry. Anything that size would be angry. That 
was a trout. He had been solidly hooked. Solid as a rock. 
He felt like a rock, too, before he started off. By God, he was 
a big one. By God, he was the biggest one I ever heard of. 


Nick climbed out on to the meadow and stood, water run- 
ning down his trousers and out of his shoes, his shoes squelchy. 
He went over and sat on the logs. He did not want to rush 
his sensations any. 

He wriggled his toes in the water, in his shoes, and got out 
a cigarette from his breast pocket. He lit it and tossed the 
match into the fast water below the logs. A tiny trout rose 
at the match, as it swung around in the fast current. Nick 
laughed. He would finish the cigarette. 

He sat on the logs, smoking, drying in the sun, the sun 
warm on his back, the river shallow ahead entering the woods, 
curving into the woods, shallows, light glittering, big water- 
smooth rocks, cedars along the bank and white birches, the 
logs warm in the sun, smooth to sit on, without bark, grey to 
the touch; slowly the feeling of disappointment left him. It 
went away slowly, the feeling of disappointment that came 
sharply after the thrill that made his shoulders ache. It was 
all right now. His rod lying out on the logs, Nick tied a new 
hook on the leader, pulling the gut tight until it grimped 
into itself in a hard knot. 

He baited up, then picked up the rod and walked to the 
far end of the logs to get into the water, where it was not too 
deep. Under and beyond the logs was a deep pool. Nick 
walked around the shallow shelf near the swamp shore until 
he came out on the shallow bed of the stream. 

On the left, where the meadow ended and the woods 
began, a great elm tree was uprooted. Gone over in a storm, 
it lay back into the woods, its roots clotted with dirt, grass 
growing in them, rising a solid bank beside the stream. The 
river cut to the edge of the uprooted tree. From where Nick 
stood he could see deep channels, like ruts, cut in the shallow 
bed of the stream by the flow of the current. Pebbly where 
he stood and pebbly and full of boulders beyond; where it 
curved near the tree roots, the bed of the stream was marly 
and between the ruts of deep water green weed fronds swung 
in the current. 


Nick swung the rod back over his shoulder and forward, 
and the line, curving forward, laid the grasshopper down on 
one of the deep channels in the weeds. A trout struck and 
Nick hooked him. 

Holding the rod far out toward the uprooted tree and 
sloshing backward in the current, Nick worked the trout, 
plunging, the rod bending alive, out of the danger of the 
weeds into the open river. Holding the rod, pumping alive 
against the current, Nick brought the trout in. He rushed, 
but always came, the spring of the rod yielding to the rushes, 
sometimes jerking under water, but always bringing him in. 
Nick eased downstream with the rushes. The rod above his 
head he led the trout over the net, then lifted. 

The trout hung heavy in the net, mottled trout back and 
silver sides in the meshes. Nick unhooked him; heavy sides, 
good to hold, big undershot jaw, and slipped him, heaving 
and big sliding, into the long sack that hung from his 
shoulders in the water. 

Nick spread the mouth of the sack against the current and 
it filled, heavy with water. He held it up, the bottom in the 
stream, and the water poured out through the sides. Inside 
at the bottom was the big trout, alive in the water. 

Nick moved downstream. The sack out ahead of him sunk 
heavy in the water, pulling from his shoulders. 

It was getting hot, the sun hot on the back of his neck. 

Nick had one good trout. He did not care about getting 
many trout. Now the stream was shallow and wide. There 
were trees along both banks. The trees of the left bank made 
short shadows on the current in the forenoon sun. Nick knew 
there were trout in each shadow. In the afternoon, after the 
sun had crossed toward the hills, the trout would be in the 
cool shadows on the other side of the stream. 

The very biggest ones would lie up close to the bank. You 
could always pick them up there on the Black. When the 
sun was down they all moved out into the current. Just when 
the sun made the water blinding in the glare before it went 


down, you were liable to strike a big trout anywhere in the 
current. It was almost impossible to fish then, the surface of 
the water was blinding as a mirror in the sun. Of course, you 
could fish upstream, but in a stream like the Black, or this, 
you had to wallow against the current and in a deep place, 
the water piled up on you. It was no fun tot fish upstream 
with this much current. 

Nick moved along through the shallow stretch watching 
the banks for deep holes. A beech tree grew close beside the 
river, so that the branches hung down into the water. The 
stream went back in under the leaves. There were always 
trout in a place like that. 

Nick did not care about fishing that hole. He was sure he 
would get hooked in the branches. 

It looked deep though. He dropped the grasshopper so the 
current took it under water, back in under the overhanging 
branch. The line pulled hard and Nick struck. The trout 
threshed heavily, half out of water in the leaves and branches. 
The line was caught. Nick pulled hard and the trout was off. 
He reeled in and holding the hook in his hand, walked down 
the stream. 

Ahead, close to the left bank, was a big log. Nick saw it 
was hollow; pointing up river the current entered it smoothly, 
only a little ripple spread each side of the log. The water was 
deepening. The top of the hollow log was grey and dry. It 
was partly in the shadow. 

Nick took the cork out of the grasshopper bottle and a 
hopper clung to it. He picked him off, hooked him and tossed 
him out. He held the rod far out so that the hopper on the 
water moved into the current flowing into the hollow log. 
Nick lowered the rod and the hopper floated in. There was a 
heavy strike. Nick swung the rod against the pull. It felt as 
though he were hooked into the log itself, except for the live 

He tried to force the fish out into the current. It came, 


The line went slack, and Nick thought the trout was gone. 
Then he saw him, very near, in the current, shaking his head, 
trying to get the hook out. His mouth was clamped shut. 
He was fighting the hook in the clear flowing current. 

Looping in the line with his left hand, Nick swung the rod 
to make the line taut and tried to lead the trout toward the 
net, but he was gone, out of sight, the line pumping. Nick 
fought him against the current, letting him thump in the 
water against the spring of the rod. He shifted the rod to his 
left hand, worked the trout upstream, holding his weight, 
fighting on the rod, and then let him down into the net. He 
lifted him clear of the water, a heavy half circle in the net, 
the net dripping, unhooked him and slid him into the sack. 

He spread the mouth of the sack and looked down in at 
the two big trout alive in the water. 

Through the deepening water, Nick waded over to the 
hollow log. He took the sack off, over his head, the trout 
flopping as it came out of water, and hung it so the trout 
were deep in the water. Then he pulled himself up on the 
log and sat, the water from his trousers and boots running 
down into the stream. He laid his rod down, moved along to 
the shady end of the log and took the sandwiches out of his 
pocket. He dipped the sandwiches in the cold water. The 
current carried away the crumbs. He ate the sandwiches 
and dipped his hat full of water to drink, the water running 
out through his hat just ahead of his drinking. 

It was cool in the shade, sitting on the log. He took a 
cigarette out and struck a match to light it. The match sunk 
into the grey wood, making a tiny furrow. Nick leaned over 
the side of the log, found a hard place and lit the match. He 
sat smoking and watching the river. 

Ahead the river narrowed and went into a swamp. The 
river became smooth and deep and the swamp looked solid 
with cedar trees, their trunks close together, their branches 
solid. It would not be possible to walk through a swamp like 
that. The branches grew so low. You would have to keep 


almost level with the ground to move at all. You could not 
crash through the branches. That must be why the animals 
that lived in swamps were built the way they were, Nick 

He wished he had brought something to read. He felt like 
reading. He did not feel like going on into tKc swamp. He 
looked down the river. A big cedar slanted all the way across 
the stream. Beyond that the river went into the swamp. 

Nick did not want to go in there now. He felt a reaction 
against deep wading with the water deepening up under his 
armpits, to hook big trout in places impossible to land them. 
In the swamp the banks were bare, the big cedars came 
together overhead, the sun did not come through, except in 
patches; in the fast deep water, in the half light, the fishing 
would be tragic. In the swamp fishing was a tragic adventure. 
Nick did not want it. He did not want to go down the 
stream any farther to-day. 

He took out his knife, opened it and stuck it in the log. 
Then he pulled up the sack, reached into it and brought out 
one of the trout. Holding him near the tail, hard to hold, 
alive, in his hand, he whacked him against the log. The 
trout quivered, rigid. Nick laid him on the log in the shade 
and broke the neck of the other fish the same way. He laid 
them side by side on the log. They were fine trout. 

Nick cleaned them, slitting them from the vent to the tip 
of the jaw. All the insides and the gills and tongue came out 
in one piece. They were both males; long grey- white strips 
of milt, smooth and clean. All the insides clean and compact, 
coming out all together. Nick tossed the offal ashore for the 
minks to find. 

He washed the trout in the stream. When he held them 
back up in the water they looked like live fish. Their colour 
was not gone yet. He washed his hands and dried them on 
the log. Then he laid the trout on the sack spread out on 
the log, rolled them up in it, tied the bundle and put it in 
the landing net. His knife was still standing, blade stuck in 


the log. He cleaned it on the wood and put it in his pocket. 
Nick stood up on the log, holding his rod, the landing net 
hanging heavy, then stepped into the water and splashed 
ashore. He climbed the bank and cut up into the woods> 
toward the high ground. He was going back to camp. He 
looked back. The river just showed through the trees. There 
were plenty of days coming when he could fish the swamp. 


1 he king was working in the garden. He seemed very glad to see me. 
We walked through the garden. This is the queen, he said. She was 
clippingji rose bush. Oh how do you do, she said. We sat down at a 
table under a big tree and the king ordered whisky and soda. We have 
good whisky anyway, he said. The rej}olt^na^c^n^njttee, he told 
me, would not allow him to go outside the palace grounds. Plastiras 
is a very good man I believe, he said, but frightfully difficult. I think 
he did right though shooting those chaps. If Kerensky had shot a few 
men things might have been altogetE^different. Of course the great 
thing in this sort of an affair is not to be shot oneself! 

It was very jolly. We talked for a long time. Like all Greeks he 
wanted to go to America. 



MANUEL GARCIA climbed the stairs to Don Miguel Retana's 
office. He set down his suitcase and knocked on the door. 
There was no answer. Manuel, standing in the hallway, felt 
there was some one in the room. He felt it through the door. 

'Retana,' he said, listening. 

There was no answer. 

He's there, all right, Manuel thought. 

'Retana,' he said and banged the door. 

"'Who's there?' said some one in the office. 

'Me, Manolo,' Manuel said*. 

'What do you want?' asked the voice.. 

'I want to work,' Manuel said. ^^ ~* 

Something in the door clicked several times and it swung 
open. Manuel went in, carrying his suitcase. 

A little man sat behind a desk at the far side of the room. 
Over his head was a bull's head, stuffed by a Madrid ta&i- 
dernust; on the walls were framed photographs and bull- 
fight posters. 

The little man sat looking at Manuel., 

*I thought they'd killed you/ he said<j5 

Manuel knocked with his knuckles on the desk. The little 
man sat looking at him across the desk. 

'How many corridas you had this year?' Retana asked. 

'One, 3 he answered. 

'Just that one?' the little man asked. 

'That's all.' 

'I read about it in the papers, 5 Retana said. He leaned 
back in the chair and looked at Manuel. 

Manuel looked up at the stuffed bull. He had seen it often 
before. He felt a certain family interest in it. It had killed 



his brother, the promising one, about nine years ago. Manuel 
remembered the day. There was a brass plate on the oak 
shield the bull's head was mounted on. Manuel could not 
read it, but he imagined it was in memory of his brother. 
Well, he had been a good kid. 

The plate % said: 'The Bull "Mariposa" of the Duke of 
Veragua, which accepted 9 varas for 7 caballos, and caused 
the death of Antonio Garcia, Novillero, April 27, 1909.' 

Retana saw him looking at the stuffed bull's head. 

'The lot the Duke sent me for Sunday will make a scandal,' 
he said. 'They're all bad in the legs. What do they say about 
them at the Cafe?' 

C I don't know/ Manuel said 'I just got in.' 

'Yes,' Retana said. 'You still have your bag.' 

He looked at Manuel, leaning back behind the big desk. 

'Sit down,' he said. 'Take off your cap.' 

Manuel sat down; his cap off, his face was changed. He 
looked pale, and his coleta pinned forward on his head, so 
that it would not show under the cap, gave him a strange 

'You don't look well,' Retana said. 

'I just got out of the hospital,' Manuel said. 

'I heard they'd cut your leg off,' Retana said. 

'No,' said Manuel. 'It got all right.' 

Retana leaned forward across the desk and pushed a 
wooden box of cigarettes toward Manuel. 

'Have a cigarette,' he said. 


Manuel lit it. 

'Smoke?' he said, offering the match to Retana. 

'No,' Retana waved his hand, 'I never smoke.' 

Retana watched him smoking. 

'Why don't you get a job and go to work?' he said. 

*I don't want to work,' Manuel said. 'I am a bull-fighter/ 

There aren't any bull-fighters any more,' Retana said. 

Tm a bull-fighter,' Manuel said. 


'Yes, while you're in there/ Retana said. 

Manuel laughed. 

Retana sat, saying nothing and looking at Manuel. 

Til put you in a nocturnal if you want,' Retana offered. 

'When?' Manuel asked. 

'To-morrow night.' 

'I don't like to substitute for anybody,' Manuel said. That 
was the way they all got killed. That was the way Salvador 
got killed. He tapped with his knuckles on the table. 

'It's all I've got,' Retana said. 

'Why don't you put me on next week? 5 Manuel suggested. 

'You wouldn't draw,' Retana said. 'All they want is Litri 
and Rubito and La Torre. Those kids are good.' 

'They'd come to see me get it,' Manuel said, hopefully. 

'No, they wouldn't. They don't know who you are any 

'I've got a lot of stuff,' Manuel said. 

'I'm offering to put you on to-morrow night,' Retana said. 
4 You can work with young Hernandez and kill two novillos 
after the Chariots.' 

'Whose novillos?' Manuel asked. 

'I don't know. Whatever stuff they've got in the corrals. 
What the veterinaries won't pass in the daytime.' 

'I don't like to substitute,' Manuel said. 

'You can take it or leave it,' Retana said. He leaned for- 
ward over the papers. He was no longer interested. The 
appeal that Manuel had made to him for a moment when he 
thought of the old days was gone. He would like to get him 
to substitute for Larita because he could get him cheaply. 
He could get others cheaply too. He would like to help him, 
though. Still he had given him the chance. It was up to him. 

'How much do I get?' Manuel asked. He was still playing 
with the idea of refusing. But he knew he could not refuse. 

'Two hundred and fifty pesetas,' Retana said. He had 
thought of five hundred, but when he opened his mouth it 
said two hundred and fifty. 


'You pay Villalta seven thousand/ Manuel said. 

'You're not Villalta,' Retana said. 

'I know it,' Manuel said. 

'He draws it, Manolo,' Retana said in explanation. 

'Sure,' said Manuel. He stood up. 'Give me three hun- 
dred, Retana! 5 

'All right,' Retana agreed. He reached in the drawer for a 

'Can I have fifty now?' Manuel asked. 

'Sure,' said Retana. He took a fifty-peseta note out of his 
pocket-book and laid it, spread out flat, on the table. 

Manuel picked it up and put it in his pocket. 

'What about a cuadrilla?' he asked. 

'There's the boys that always work for me nights,' Retana 
said. 'They're all right.' 

'How about picadors?' Manuel asked. 

'They're not much,' Retana admitted. 

'I've got to have one good pic,' Manuel said. 

'Get him then,' Retana said. 'Go and get him.' 

'Not out of this,' Manuel said. 'I'm not paying for any 
cuadrilla out of sixty duros.' 

Retana said nothing but looked at Manuel across the big 

'You know I've got to have one good pic,' Manuel said. 

Retana said nothing but looked at Manuel from a long way 

'It isn't right,' Manuel said. 

Retana was still considering him, leaning back in his chair, 
considering him from a long way away. 

There're the regular pics/ he offered. 

'I know, 5 Manuel said. 'I know your regular pics.' 

Retana did not smile. Manuel knew it was over. 

'All I want is an even break, 5 Manuel said reasoningly. 
*When I go out there I want to be able to call my shots on the 
bull. It only takes one good picador. 5 

He was talking to a man who was no longer listening. 


If you want something extra/ Retana said, 'go and get it. 
There will be a regular cuadrilla out there. Bring as many 
of your own pics as you want. The charlotada is over by 

'All right/ Manuel said. 'If that's the way you feel about 

'That's the way/ Retana said. 

Til see you to-morrow night/ Manuel said. 

Til be out there/ Retana said. 

Manuel picked up his suitcase and went out. 

'Shut the door/ Retana called. 

Manuel looked back. Retana was sitting forward looking at 
some papers. Manuel pulled the door tight until it clicked. 

He went down the stairs and out of the door into the hot 
brightness of the street. It was very hot in the street and the 
light on the white buildings was sudden and hard on his eyes. 
He walked down the shady side of the street toward the 
Puerta del Sol. The shade felt solid and cool as running 
water. The heat came suddenly as he crossed the intersect- 
ing streets. Manuel saw no one he knew in all the people he 

Just before the Puerto del Sol he turned into a cafe. 

It was quiet in the cafe. There were a few men sitting at 
tables against the wall. At one table four men played cards. 
Most of the men sat against the wall smoking, empty coffee- 
cups and liqueur-glasses before them on the tables. Manuel 
went through the long room to a small room in back. A man 
sat at a table in the corner asleep. Manuel sat down at one 
of the tables. 

A waiter came in and stood beside Manuel's table. 

'Have you seen Zurito?' Manuel asked him. 

'He was in before lunch/ the waiter answered, 'He won't 
be back before five o'clock.' 

'Bring me some coffee and milk and a shot of the ordinary/ 
Manuel said. 

The waiter came back into the room carrying a tray with a 


big coffee-glass and a liqueur-glass on it. In his left hand he 
held a bottle of brandy. He swung these down to the table 
and a boy who had followed him poured coffee and milk into 
the glass from two shiny, spouted pots with long handles. 

Manuel took off his cap and the waiter noticed his pigtail 
pinned forward on his head. He winked at the coffee-boy as 
he poured out the brandy into the little glass beside 
Manuel's coffee. The coffee-boy looked at Manuel's pale face 

'You fighting here?' asked the waiter, corking up the bottle. 

'Yes,' Manuel said. 'To-morrow.' 

The waiter stood there, holding the bottle on one hip. 

'You in the Charlie Chaplins?' he asked. 

The coffee-boy looked away, embarrassed. 

'No. In the ordinary. 5 

'I thought they were going to have Chaves and Hernan- 
dez,' the waiter said. 

'No. Me and another.' 

'Who? Chaves or Hernandez?' 

'Hernandez, I think/ 

'What's the matter with Chaves?' 

'He got hurt. 5 

"Where did you hear that?' 


"Hey, Looie,' the waiter called to the next room. 'Chaves 
got cogida.' 

Manuel had taken the wrapper off the lumps of sugar and 
dropped them into his coffee. He stirred it and drank it 
down, sweet, hot, and warming in his empty stomach. He 
drank off the brandy. 

'Give me another shot of that,' he said to the waiter. 

The waiter uncorked the bottle and poured the glass full r 
slopping another drink into the saucer. Another waiter had 
come up in front of the table. The coffee-boy was gone, 

'Is Chaves hurt bad?' the second waiter asked Manuel. 

'I don't know,' Manuel said. 'Retana didn't say.' 


'A hell of a lot he cares/ the tall waiter said. Manuel had 
not seen him before. He must have just come up. 

'If you stand in with Retana in this town, you're a made 
man/ the tall waiter said. 'If you aren't in with him, you 
might just as well go out and shoot yourself.' 

'You said it,' the other waiter who had come in said. 'You 
said it then.' 

'You're right I said it,' said the tall waiter. 'I know what 
I'm talking about when I talk about that bird.' 

'Look what he's done for Villalta,' the first waiter said. 

'And that ain't all,' the tall waiter said. 'Look what he's 
done for Marcial Lalanda. Look what he's done for 

'You said it, kid,' agreed the short waiter. 

Manuel looked at them, standing talking in front of his 
table. He had drunk his second brandy. They had for- 
gotten about him. They were not interested in him. 

'Look at that bunch of camels,' the tall waiter went on. 
'Did you ever see this Nacional II?' 

'I seen him last Sunday, didn't I?' the original waiter said. 

'He's a giraffe,' the short waiter said. 

'What did I tell you?' the tall waiter said. 'Those are 
Retana's boys.' 

'Say, give me another shot of that/ Manuel said. He had 
poured the brandy the waiter had slopped over in the saucer 
into his glass and drank it while they were talking. 

The original waiter poured his glass full mechanically, and 
the three of them went out of the room talking. 

In the far corner the man was still asleep, snoring slightly 
on the intaking breath, his head back against the wall. 

Manuel drank his brandy. He felt sleepy himself. It was too 
hot to go out into the town. Besides there was nothing to do. 
He wanted to see Zurito. He would go to sleep while he waited. 
He kicked his suitcase under the table to be sure it was there. 
Perhaps it would be better to put it back under the seat, 
against the wall. He leaned down and shoved it under. 


Then he leaned forward on the table and went to sleep. 

When he woke there was some one sitting across the table 
from him. It was a big man with a heavy brown face like 
an Indian. He had been sitting there some time. He had 
waved the waiter away and sat reading the paper and 
occasionally looking down at Manuel, asleep, his head on the 
table. He read the paper laboriously, forming the words with 
his lips as he read. When it tired him he looked at Manuel. 
He sat heavily in the chair, his black Cordoba hat tipped 

Manuel sat up and looked at him. 

'Hello, Zurito, 5 he said. 

c Hello, kid,' the big man said. 

'I've been asleep,' Manuel rubbed his forehead with the 
back of his fist. 

'I thought maybe you were.' 

'How's everything?' 

'Good. How is everything with you?' 

'Not so good.' 

They were both silent. Zurito, the picador, looked at 
Manuel's white face. Manuel looked down at the picador's 
enormous hands folding the paper to put away in his pocket. 

'I got a favour to ask you, Manos,' Manuel said. 

Manosduros was Zurito's nickname. He never heard it 
without thinking of his huge hands. He put them forward 
on the table self-consciously. 

'Let's have a drink,' he said. 

'Sure,' said Manuel. 

The waiter came and went and came again. He went out 
of the room looking back at the two men at the table. 

'What's the matter, Manolo?' Zurito set down his glass. 

'Would you pic two bulls for me to-morrow night?' Manuel 
asked, looking up at Zurito across the table. 

c No, J said Zurito. Tm not pic-ing. 5 

Manuel looked down at his glass. He had expected that 
answer; now he had it. Well, he had it. 


Tm sorry, Manolo, but I'm not pic-ing.' Zurito looked at 
his hands. 

'That's all right,' Manuel said. 

Tm too old,' Zurito said. 

'I just asked you,' Manuel said. 

'Is it the nocturnal to-morrow?' 

'That's it. I figured if I had just one good pic, I could get 
away with it.' 

'How much are you getting?' 

'Three hundred pesetas.' 

'I get more than that for pic-ing.' 

'I know,' said Manuel. 'I didn't have any right to ask 

'What do you keep on doing it for?' Zurito asked. 'Why 
don't you cut off your coleta, Manolo?' 

'I don't know,' Manuel said. 

'You're pretty near as old as I am,' Zurito said. 

*I don't know,' Manuel said. 'I got to do it. If I can fix it 
so that I get an even break, that's all I want. I got to stick 
with it, Manos.' 

'No, you don't.' 

'Yes. I do. I've tried keeping away from it.' 

'I know how you feel. But it isn't right. You ought to get 
out and stay out.' 

'I can't do it. Besides, I've been going good lately.' 

Zurito looked at his face. 

'You've been in the hospital.' 

'But I was going great when I got hurt.' 

Zurito said nothing. He tipped the cognac out of his 
saucer into his glass. 

'The papers said they never saw a better faena,' Manuel 

Zurito looked at him. 

'You know when I get going I'm good,' Manuel said. 

'You're too old,' the picador said. 

'No, 5 said Manuel. 'You're ten years older than I am.' 


'With me it's different.' 

Tm not too old,' Manuel said. 

They sat silent, Manuel watching the picador's face. 

'I was going great till I got hurt,' Manuel offered. 

'You ought to have seen me, Manos,' Manuel said y 

'I don't want to see you,' Zurito said. 'It makes me 

'You haven't seen me lately.' 

'I've seen you plenty.' 

Zurito looked at Manuel, avoiding his eyes. 

'You ought to quit it, Manolo.' 

'I can't,' Manuel said. 'I'm going good now, I tell you/ 

Zurito leaned forward, his hands on the table. 

'Listen. I'll pic for you and if you don't go big to-morrow 
night, you'll quit. See? Will you do that?' 


Zurito leaned back, relieved. 

'You got to quit,' he said. 'No monkey business. You got 
to cut the coleta/ 

'I won't have to quit,' Manuel said. 'You watch me. I've 
got the stuff.' 

Zurito stood up. He felt tired from arguing. 

'You got to quit,' he said. Til cut your coleta myself.' 

'No, you won't,' Manuel said. 'You won't have a chance/ 

Zurito called the waiter. 

'Come on/ said Zurito. 'Come on up to the house.' 

Manuel reached under the seat for his suitcase. He was 
happy. He knew Zurito would pic for him. He was the best 
picador living. It was all simple now. 

'Come on up to the house and we'll eat,' Zurito said. 

Manuel stood in the patio de caballos waiting for the 
Charlie Chaplins to be over. Zurito stood beside him. 
Where they stood it was dark. The high door that led into 
the bull-ring was shut. Above them they heard a shout, then 


another shout of laughter. Then there was silence. Manuel 
liked the smell of the stables about the patio de caballos. 
It smelt good in the dark. There was another roar from the 
arena and then applause, prolonged applause, going on and 

'You ever seen these fellows? 5 Zurito asked, big and 
looming beside Manuel in the dark. 

'No,' Manuel said. 

'They're pretty funny,' Zurito said. He smiled to himself 
in the dark. 

The high, double, tight-fitting door into the bull-ring 
swung open and Manuel saw the ring in the hard light of the 
arc-lights, the plaza, dark all the way around, rising high; 
around the edge of the ring were running and bowing two 
men dressed like tramps, followed by a third in the uniform 
of a hotel bell-boy who stooped and picked up the hats and 
canes thrown down on to the sand and tossed them back up 
into the darkness. 

The electric light went on in the patio. 

Til climb on to one of those ponies while you collect the 
kids,' Zurito said. 

Behind them came the jingle of the mules, coming out to 
go into the arena and be hitched on to the dead bull. 

The members of the cuadrilla, who had been watching the 
burlesque from the runway between the barrera and the 
seats, came walking back and stood in a group talking, under 
the electric light in the patio. A good-looking lad in a silver- 
and-orange suit came up to Manuel and smiled. 

Tm Hernandez,' he said and put out his hand. 

Manuel shook it. 

'They're regular elephants we've got to-night,' the boy said 

'They're big ones with horns/ Manuel agreed. 

'You drew the worst lot,' the boy said. 

'That's all right,' Manuel said. 'The bigger they are, the 
more meat for the poor.' 


'Where did you get that one?' Hernandez grinned. 

'That's an old one/ Manuel said. 'You line up your cuad- 
rilla, so I can see what I've got.' 

'You've got some good kids,' Hernandez said. He was very 
cheerful. He had been on twice before in nocturnals and was 
beginning to gfet a following in Madrid. He was happy the 
fight would start in a few minutes. 

'Where are the pics?' Manuel asked. 

'They're back in the corrals fighting about who gets the 
beautiful horses/ Hernandez grinned. 

The mules came through the gate in a rush, the whips 
snapping, bells jangling and the young bull ploughing a 
furrow of sand. 

They formed up for the paseo as soon as the bull had gone 

Manuel and Hernandez stood in front. The youths of 
the cuadrillas were behind, their heavy capes furled over 
their arms. In back, the four picadors, mounted, hold- 
ing their steel-tipped push-poles erect in the half-dark of the 

'It's a wonder Retana wouldn't give us enough light to see 
the horses by/ one picador said. 

'He knows we'll be happier if we don't get too good a look 
at these skins/ another pic answered. 

'This thing I'm on barely keeps me off the ground/ the 
first picador said. 

'Well, they're horses.' 

'Sure, they're horses.' 

They talked, sitting their gaunt horses in the dark. 

Zurito said nothing. He had the only steady horse of the 
lot. He had tried him, wheeling him in the corrals and he 
responded to the bit and the spurs. He had taken the 
bandage off his right eye and cut the strings where they had 
tied his ears tight shut at the base. He was a good, solid 
horse, solid on his legs. That was all he needed. He intended 
to ride him all through the corrida. He had already, since he 


had mounted, sitting in the half-dark in the big, quilted 
saddle, waiting for the paseo, pioed through the whole 
corrida in his mind. The other picadors went on talking on 
both sides of him. He did not hear them. 

The two matadors stood together in front of their three 
peones, their capes furled over their left arms in the same 
fashion. Manuel was thinking about the three lads in back of 
him. They were all three Madrilenos, like Hernandez, boys 
about nineteen. One of them, a gipsy, serious, aloof, and 
dark-faced, he liked the look of. He turned. 

'What's your name, kid?' he asked the gipsy. 

Tuentes,' the gipsy said. 

'That's a good name,' Manuel said. 

The gipsy smiled, showing his teeth. 

'You take the bull and give him a little run when he comes 
out,' Manuel said. 

'All right,' the gipsy said. His face was serious. He began 
to think about just what he would do. 

'Here she goes,' Manuel said to Hernandez. 

'All right. We'll go.' 

Heads up, swinging with the music, their right arms 
swinging free, they stepped out, crossing the sanded arena 
under the arc-lights, the cuadrillas opening out behind, the 
picadors riding after, behind came the bull-ring servants and 
the jingling mules. The crowd applauded Hernandez as they 
marched across the arena. Arrogant, swinging, they looked 
straight ahead as they marched. 

They bowed before the president, and the procession 
broke up into its component parts. The bull-fighters went 
over to the barrera and changed their heavy mantles for the 
light fighting capes. The mules went out. The picadors 
galloped jerkily around the ring, and two rode out the gate 
they had come in by. The servants swept the sand 

Manuel drank a glass of water poured for him by one of 
Retana's deputies, who was acting as his manager and sword- 


handler. Hernandez came over from speaking with his own 

'You got a good hand, kid, 5 Manuel complimented him. 

'They like me,' Hernandez said happily. 

'How did the pasco go? 5 Manuel asked Retana 5 s man. 

'Like a wedding, 5 said the handler. 'Fine. You came out 
like Joselito and Belmonte. 5 

Zurito rode by, a bulky equestrian statue. He wheeled his 
horse and faced him toward the toril on the far. side of the 
ring where the bull would come out. It was strange under 
the arc-light. He pic-cd in the hot afternoon sun for big 
money. He didn't like this arc-light business. He wished 
they would get started. 

Manuel went up to him. 

'Pic him, Manos, 5 he said. 'Cut him down to size for 

Til pic him, kid,' Zurito spat on the sand. Til make him 
jump out of the ring.' 

'Lean on him, Manos,' Manuel said. 

Til lean on him,' Zurito said. 'What's holding it up?' 

'He's coming now,' Manuel said. 

Zurito sat there, his feet in the box-stirrups, his great legs 
in the buckskin-covered armour gripping the horse, the reins 
in his left hand, the long pic held in his right hand, his broad 
hat well down over his eyes to shade them from the lights, 
watching the distant door of the toril. His horse's ears 
quivered. Zurito patted him with his left hand. 

The red door of the toril swung back and for a moment 
Zurito looked into the empty passageway far across the 
arena. Then the bull came out in a rush, skidding on his four 
legs as he came out under the lights, then charging in a gallop, 
moving softly in a fast gallop, silent except as he woofed 
through wide nostrils as he charged, glad to be free after the 
dark pen. 

In the first row of seats, slightly bored, leaning forward to 
write on the cement wall in front of his knees, the substitute 


bull-fight critic of El Heraldo scribbled: 'Campagnero, Negro, 
42, came out at 90 miles an hour with plenty of gas ' 

Manuel, leaning against the barrera, watching the bull, 
waved his hand and the gipsy ran out, trailing his cape. The 
bull, in full gallop, pivoted and charged the cape, his head 
down, his tail rising. The gipsy moved in a zigzag, and as he 
passed, the bull caught sight of him and abandoned the cape 
to charge the man. The gip sprinted and vaulted the red 
fence of the barrera as the bull struck it with his horns. He 
tossed into it twice with his horns, banging into the wood 

The critic of El Heraldo lit a cigarette and tossed the match 
at the bull, then wrote in his note-book, 'large and with 
enough horns to satisfy the cash customers, Campagnero 
showed a tendency to cut into the terrain of the bull-fighters'. 

Manuel stepped out on the hard sand as the bull banged 
into the fence. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Zurito 
sitting the white horse close to the barrera, about a quarter 
of the way around the ring to the left. Manuel held the 
cape close in front of him, a fold in each hand, and shouted 
at the bull. 'Huh! Huh!' The bull turned, seemed to brace 
against the fence as he charged in a scramble, driving into 
the cape as Manuel side-stepped, pivoted on his heels with 
the charge of the bull, and swung the cape just ahead of the 
horns. At the end of the swing he was facing the bull again 
and held the cape in the same position close in front of his 
body, and pivoted again as the bull recharged. Each time, 
as he swung, the crowd shouted. 

Four times he swung with the bull, lifting the cape so it 
billowed full, and each time bringing the bull around to 
charge again. Then, at the end of the fifth swing, he held the 
cape against his hip and pivoted, so the cape swung out like 
a ballet dancer's skirt and wound the bull around himself 
like a belt, to step clear, leaving the bull facing Zurito on the 
white horse, come up and planted firm, the horse facing 
the bull, its ears forward, its lips nervous, Zurito, his hat over 


his eyes, leaning forward, the long pole sticking out before 
and behind in a sharp angle under his right arm, held half- 
way down, the triangular iron point facing the bull. 

El Heraldo's second-string critic, dra,wing on his cigarette, 
his eyes on the bull, wrote: 'the veteran Manolo designed 
a series of acceptable veronicas, ending in a very Belmontistic 
recorte that earned applause from the regulars, and we 
entered the tercio of the cavalry.' 

Zurito sat his horse, measuring the distance between the 
bull and the end of the pic. As he looked, the bull gathered 
himself together and charged, his eyes on the horse's chest. 
As he lowered his head to hook, Zurito sunk the point of the 
pic in the swelling hump of muscle above the bull's shoulder, 
leaned all his weight on the shaft, and with his left hand 
pulled the white horse into the air, front hoofs pawing, and 
swung him to the right as he pushed the bull under and 
through so the horns passed safely under the horse's belly 
and the horse came down, quivering, the bull's tail brushing 
his chest as he charged the cape Hernandez offered him. 

Hernandez ran sideways, taking the bull* out and away 
with the cape, toward the other picador. He fixed him with 
a swing of the cape, squarely facing the horse and rider, and 
stepped back. As the bull saw the horse he charged. The 
picador's lance slid along his back, and as the shock of the 
charge lifted the horse, the picador was already half-way out 
of the saddle, lifting his right leg clear as he missed with the 
lance and falling to the left side to keep the horse between 
him and the bull. The horse, lifted and gored, crashed over 
with the bull driving into him, the picador gave a shove with 
his boots against the horse and lay clear, waiting to be lifted 
and hauled away and put on his feet. 

Manuel let the bull drive into the fallen horse; he was in no 
hurry, the picador was safe; besides, it did a picador like that 
good to worry. He'd stay on longer next time. Lousy pics! 
He looked across the sand at Zurito a little way out from the 
barrera, his horse rigid, waiting. 


'Huh!' he called to the bull, 'TomarP holding the cape in 
both hands so it would catch his eye. The bull detached him- 
self from the horse and charged the cape, and Manuel, running 
sideways and holding the cape spread wide, stopped, swung on 
his heels, and brought the bull sharply around facing Zurito. 
'Campagnero accepted a pair of varas for the death of one 
rosinante, with Hernandez and Manolo at the quites,' El 
Heraldo's critic wrote. 'He pressed on the iron and clearly 
showed he was no horse-lover. The veteran Zurito resur- 
rected some of his old stuff with the pike-pole, notably the 
suerte ' 

'Ole! OleP the man sitting beside him shouted. The shout 
was lost in the roar of the crowd, and he slapped the critic on 
the back. The critic looked up to see Zurito, directly below 
him, leaning far out over his horse, the length of the pic 
rising in a sharp angle under his armpit, holding the pic 
almost by the point, bearing down with all his weight, hold- 
ing the bull off, the bull pushing and driving to get at the 
horse, and Zurito, far out, on top of him, holding him, hold- 
ing him, and slowly pivoting the horse against the pressure, 
so that at last he was clear. Zurito felt the moment when the 
horse was clear and the bull could come past, and relaxed 
the absolute steel lock of his resistance, and the triangular 
steel point of the pic ripped in the bull's hump of shoulder 
muscle as he tore loose to find Hernandez's cape before his 
muzzle. He charged blindly into the cape and the boy took 
him out into the open arena. 

Zurito sat patting his horse and looking at the bull charg- 
ing the cape that Hernandez swung for him out under the 
bright light while the crowd shouted. 

'You see that one?' he said to Manuel. 

'It was a wonder/ Manuel said. 

'I got him that time,' Zurito said. 'Look at him now.' 

At the conclusion of a closely turned pass of the cape the 
bull slid to his knees. He was up at once, but far out across 
the sand Manuel and Zurito saw the shine of the pumping 


flow of blood, smooth against the black of the bull's shoulder. 

'I got him that time,' Zurito said. 

'He's a good bull,' Manuel said. 

'If they gave me another shot at him, I'd kill him,' Zurito 

'They'll change the thirds on us,' Manuel said. 

'Look at him now,' Zurito said. 

'I got to go over there,' Manuel said, and started on a run 
for the other side of the ring, where the monos were leading a 
horse out by the bridle toward the bull, whacking him on the 
legs with rods and all, in a procession, trying to get him to- 
ward the bull, who stood, dropping his head, pawing, unable 
to make up his mind to charge. 

Zurito, sitting his horse, walking him toward the scene, not 
missing any detail, scowled. 

Finally the bull charged, the horse leaders ran for the 
barrera, the picador hit too far back, and the bull got under 
the horse, lifted him, threw him on to his back. 

Zurito watched. The monos, in their red shirts, running 
out to drag the picador clear. The picador, now on his feet, 
swearing and flopping his arms. Manuel and Hernandez 
standing ready with their capes. And the bull, the great, 
black bull, with a horse on his back, hooves dangling, the 
bridle caught in the horns. Black bull with a horse on his 
back, staggering short-legged, then arching his neck and 
lifting, thrusting, charging to slide the horse off, horse sliding 
down. Then the bull into a lunging charge at the cape 
Manuel spread for him. 

The bull was slower now, Manuel felt. He was bleeding 
badly. There was a sheen of blood all down his flank. 

Manuel offered him the cape again. There he came, eyes 
open, ugly, watching the cape. Manuel stepped to the side 
and raised his arms, tightening the cape ahead of the bull for 
the veronica. 

Now he was facing the bull. Yes, his head was going down 
a little. He was carrying it lower. That was Zurito. 


Manuel flopped the cape; there he comes; he side-stepped 
and swung in another veronica. He's shooting awfully 
accurately, he thought. He's had enough fight, so he's 
watching now. He's hunting now. Got his eye on me. But 
I always give him the cape. 

He shook the cape at the bull; there he comes; he side- 
stepped. Awful close that time. I don't want to work that 
close to him. 

The edge of the cape was wet with blood where it had 
swept along the bull's back as he went by. 

All right, here's the last one. 

Manuel, facing the bull, having turned with him each 
charge, offered the cape with his two hands. The bull looked 
at him. Eyes watching, horns straight forward, the bull 
looked at him, watching. 

'Huh! 5 Manuel said, 'Toro!' and leaning back, swung the 
cape forward. Here he comes. He side-stepped, swung the cape 
in back of him, and pivoted, so the bull followed a swirl of cape 
and then was left with nothing, fixed by the pass, dominated 
by the cape. Manuel swung the cape under his muzzle with 
one hand, to show the bull was fixed, and walked away. 

There was no applause. 

Manuel walked across the sand toward the barrera, while 
Zurito rode out of the ring. The trumpet had blown to 
change the act to the planting of the banderillos while Manuel 
had been working with the bull. He had not consciously 
noticed it. The monos were spreading canvas over the two 
dead horses and sprinkling sawdust around them. 

Manuel came up to the barrera for a drink of water. 
Retana's man handed him the heavy porous jug. 

Fuentes, the tall gipsy, was standing holding a pair of 
banderillos, holding them together, slim, red sticks, fish-hook 
points out. He looked at Manuel. 

'Go on out there, 5 Manuel said. 

The gipsy trotted out. Manuel set down the jug and 
watched. He wiped his face with his handkerchief. 


The critic of El Heraldo reached for the bottle of warm 
champagne that stood between his feet, took a drink, and 
finished his paragraph. 

c the aged Manolo rated no applause for a vulgar series 
of lances with the cape and we entered the third of the 

Alone in the centre of the ring the bull stood, still fixed. 
Fuentes, tall, flat-backed, walking toward him arrogantly, 
his arms spread out, the two slim, red sticks, one in each hand, 
held by the fingers, points straight forward. Fuentes walked 
forward. Back of him and to one side was a peon with a cape. 
The bull looked at him and was no longer fixed. 

His eyes watched Fuentes, now standing still. Now he 
leaned back, calling to him. Fuentes twitched the two 
banderillos and the light on the steel points caught the 
bull's eye. 

His tail went up and he charged. 

He came straight, his eyes on the man. Fuentes stood still, 
leaning back, the banderillos pointing forward. As the bull 
lowered his head to hook, Fuentes leaned backward, his arms 
came together and rose, his two hands touching, the 
banderillos two descending red lines, and leaning forward 
drove the points into the bull's shoulder, leaning far in over 
the bull's horns and pivoting on the two upright sticks, his 
legs tight together, his body curving to one side to let the 
bull pass. 

e Ole!' from the crowd. 

The bull was hooking wildly, jumping like a trout, all four 
feet off the ground. The red shaft of the banderillos tossed as 
he jumped. 

Manuel, standing at the barrera, noticed that he looked 
always to the right. 

'Tell him to drop the next pair on the right,' he said to 
the kid who started to run out to Fuentes with the new 

A heavy hand fell on his shoulder. It was Zurito. 


'How do you feel, kid?' he asked. 

Manuel was watching the bull. 

Zurito leaned forward on the barrera, leaning the weight 
of his body on his arms. Manuel turned to him. 

'You're going good,' Zurito said. 

Manuel shook his head. He had nothing to do now until 
the next third. The gipsy was very good with the banderillos. 
The bull would come to him in the next third in good shape. 
He was a good bull. It had all been easy up to now. The 
final stuff with the sword was all he worried over. He did 
not really worry. He did not even think about it. But stand- 
ing there he had a heavy sense of apprehension. He looked 
out at the bull, planning his faena, his work with the red 
cloth that was to reduce the bull, to make him manageable. 

The gipsy was walking out toward the bull again, walking 
heel-and-toe, insultingly, like a ballroom dancer, the red 
shafts of the banderillos twitching with his walk. The bull 
watched him, not fixed now, hunting him, but waiting to get 
close enough so he could be sure of getting him, getting the 
horns into him. 

As Fuentcs walked forward the bull charged. Fuentes ran 
across the quarter of a circle as the bull charged and, as he 
passed running backward, stopped, swung forward, rose on 
his toes, arm straight out, and sunk the banderillos straight 
down into the tight of the big shoulder muscles as the bull 
missed him. 

The crowd were wild about it. 

That kid won't stay in this night stuff long,' Retana's man 
said to Zurito. 

'He's good, 5 Zurito said. 

'Watch him now.' 

They watched. 

Fuentes was standing with his back against the barrera. 
Two of the cuadrilla were back of him, with their capes ready 
to flop over the fence to distract the bull. 

The bull, with his tongue out, his barrel heaving, was 


watching the gipsy. He thought he had him now. Back 
against the red planks. Only a short charge away. The bull 
watched him. 

The gipsy bent back, drew back his arms, the banderillos 
pointing at the bull. He called to the bull, stamped one foot. 
The bull was suspicious. He wanted the man. No more 
barbs in the shoulder. 

Fuentcs walked a little closer to the bull. Bent back. Called 
again. Somebody in the crowd shouted a warning. 

'He's too damn close,' Zurito said. 

'Watch him,' Retana's man said. 

Leaning back, inciting the bull with the banderillos, 
Fuentes jumped, both feet off the ground. As he jumped the 
bull's tail rose and he charged. Fuentes came down on his 
toes, arms straight out, whole body arching forward, and 
drove the shafts straight down as he swung his body clear of 
the right horn. 

The bull crashed into the barrera where the flopping capes 
had attracted his eye as he lost the man. 

The gipsy came running along the barrera toward Manuel, 
taking the applause of the crowd. His vest was ripped where 
he had not quite cleared the point of the horn. He was 
happy about it, showing it to the spectators. He made the 
tour of the ring. Zurito saw him go by, smiling, pointing at 
his vest. He smiled. 

Somebody else was planting the last pair of banderillos. 
Nobody was paying any attention. 

Retana's man tucked a baton inside the red cloth of a 
muleta, folded the cloth over it, and handed it over the 
barrera to Manuel. He reached in the leather sword-case, 
took out a sword, and holding it by its leather scabbard, 
reached it over the fence to Manuel. Manuel pulled the 
blade out by the red hilt and the scabbard fell limp. 

He looked at Zurito. The big man saw he was sweating, 

'Now you get him, kid,' Zurito said. 

Manuel nodded. 


'He's in good shape/ Zurito said. 

'Just like you want him, 5 Retana's man assured him. 

Manuel nodded. 

The trumpeter, up under the roof, blew for the final act, 
and Manuel walked across the arena toward where, up in the 
dark boxes, the president must be. 

In the front row of seats the substitute bull-fight critic of 
El Heraldo took a long drink of the warm champagne. He 
had decided it was not worth while to write a running story 
and would write up the corrida back in the office. What the 
hell was it anyway? Only a nocturnal. If he missed any- 
thing he would get it out of the morning papers. He took 
another drink of the champagne. He had a date at Maxim's 
at twelve. Who were these bull-fighters anyway? Kids and 
bums. A bunch of bums. He put his pad of paper in his 
pocket and looked over toward Manuel, standing very much 
alone in the ring, gesturing with his hat in a salute toward a 
box he could not see high up in the dark plaza. Out in the 
ring the bull stood quiet, looking at nothing. 

'I dedicate this bull to you, Mr. President, and to the public 
of Madrid, the most intelligent and generous of the world,' 
was what Manuel was saying. It was a formula. He said it 
all. It was a little long for nocturnal use. 

He bowed at the dark, straightened, tossed his hat over his 
shoulder, and, carrying the muleta in his left hand and the 
sword in his right, walked out toward the bull. 

Manuel walked toward the bull. The bull looked at him; 
his eyes were quick. Manuel noticed the way the banderillos 
hung down on his left shoulder and the steady sheen of blood 
from Zurito's pic-ing. He noticed the way the bull's feet 
were. As he walked forward, holding the muleta in his left 
hand and the sword in his right, he watched the bull's feet. 
The bull could not charge without gathering his feet together. 
Now he stood square on them, dully. 

Manuel walked toward him, watching his feet. This was 
all right. He could do this. He must work to get the bull's 


head down, so he could go in past the horns and kill him. 
He did not think about the sword, not about killing the bull. 
He thought about one thing at a time. The coming things 
oppressed him, though. Walking forward, watching the 
bull's feet, he saw successively his eyes, his wet muzzle, and 
the wide, forward-pointing spread of his horns. The bull 
had light circles about his eyes. His eyes watched Manuel. 
He felt he was going to get this little one with the white 

Standing still now and spreading the red cloth of the 
muleta with the sword, pricking the point into the cloth so 
that the sword, now held in his left hand, spread the red 
flannel like the jib of a boat, ManueL noticed the points of 
the bull's horns. One of them was splintered from banging 
against the barrera. The other was sharp as a porcupine 
quill. Manuel noticed while spreading the muleta that the 
white base of the horn was stained red. While he noticed 
these things he did not lose sight of the bull's feet. The bull 
watched Manuel steadily. 

He's on the defensive now, Manuel thought. He's reserv- 
ing himself. I've got to bring him out of that and get his 
head down. Always get his head down. Zurito had his head 
down once, but he's come back. He'll bleed when I start him 
going and that will bring it down. 

Holding the muleta, with the sword in his left hand widen- 
ing it in front of him, he called to the bull. 

The bull looked at him. 

He leaned back insultingly and shook the widespread 

The bull saw the muleta. It was a bright scarlet under the 
arc-light. The bull's legs tightened. 

Here he comes. Whoosh! Manuel turned as the bull came 
and raised the muleta so that it passed over the bull's horns 
and swept down his broad back from head to tail. The bull 
had gone clean up in the air with the charge. Manuel had 
not moved. 


At the end of the pass the bull turned like a cat coming 
around a corner and faced Manuel. 

He was on the offensive again. His heaviness was gone. 
Manuel noted the fresh blood shining down the black 
shoulder and dripping down the bull's leg. He drew the 
sword out of the muleta and held it in his right hand. The 
muleta held low down in his left hand, leaning toward the 
left, he called to the bull. The bull's legs tightened, his eyes 
on the muleta. Here he comes, Manuel thought. Yuh! 

He swung with the charge, sweeping the muleta ahead of 
the bull, his feet firm, the sword following the curve, a point 
of light under the arcs. 

The bull recharged as the pase natural finished and Manuel 
raised the muleta for a pase de pecho. Firmly planted, the 
bull came by his chest under the raised muleta. Manuel 
leaned his head back to avoid the clattering banderillo 
shafts. The hot, black bull body touched his chest as it passed. 

Too damn close, Manuel thought. Zurito, leaning on the 
barrera, spoke rapidly to the gipsy, who trotted out toward 
Manuel with a cape. Zurito pulled his hat down low and 
looked out across the arena at Manuel. 

Manuel was facing the bull again, the muleta held low and 
to the left. The bull's head was down as he watched the 

'If it was Belmonte doing that stuff, they'd go crazy/ 
Retana's man said. 

Zurito said nothing. He was watching Manuel out in the 
centre of the arena. 

'Where did the boss dig this fellow up? 5 Retana's man 

'Out of the hospital,' Zurito said. 

That's where he's going damn quick,' Retana's man said. 

Zurito turned on him. 

'Knock on that,' he said, pointing to the barrera. 

'I was just kidding, man,' Retana's man said. 

'Knock on the wood.' 


Retana's man leaned forward and knocked three times 
on the barrera. 

'Watch the faena,' Zurito said. 

Out in the centre of the ring, under the lights, Manuel was 
kneeling, facing the bull, and as he raised the muleta in both 
hands the bull charged, tail up. 

Manuel swung his body clear and, as the bull recharged, 
brought around the muleta in a half-circle that pulled the bull 
to his knees. 

'Why, that one's a great bull-fighter,' Retana's man said. 

'No, he's not,' said Zurito. 

Manuel stood up and, the muleta in his left hand, the 
sword in his right, acknowledged the applause from the 
dark plaza. 

The bull had humped himself up from his knees and stood 
waiting, his head hung low. 

Zurito spoke to two of the other lads of the cuadrilla and 
they ran out to stand back of Manuel with their capes. There 
were four men back of him now. Hernandez had followed 
him since he first came out with the muleta. Fuentes stood 
watching, his cape held against his body, tall, in repose, 
watching, lazy-eyed. Now the two came up. Hernandez 
motioned them to stand one at each side. Manuel stood 
alone, facing the bull. 

Manuel waved back the men with the capes. Stepping back 
cautiously, they saw his face was white and sweating. 

Didn't they know enough to keep back? Did they want to 
catch the bull's eye with the capes after he was fixed and 
ready? He had enough to worry about without that kind of 

The bull was standing, his four feet square, looking at the 
muleta. Manuel furled the muleta in his left hand. The 
bull's eyes watched it. His body was heavy on his feet. He 
carried his head low, but not too low. 

Manuel lifted the muleta at him. The bull did not move. 
Only his eyes watched. 


He's all lead, Manuel thought. He's all square. He's 
framed right. He'll take it. 

He thought in bull-fight terms. Sometimes he had a 
thought and the particular piece of slang would not come 
into his mind and he could not realize the thought. His 
instincts and his knowledge worked automatically, and his 
brain worked slowly and in words. He knew all about bulls. 
He did not have to think about them. He just did the right 
thing. His eyes noted things and his body performed the 
necessary measures without thought. If he thought about it, 
he would be gone. 

Now, facing the bull, he was conscious of many things at 
the same time. There were the horns, the one splintered, the 
other smoothly sharp, the need to profile himself toward the 
left horn, lance himself short and straight, lower the muleta, 
so the bull would follow it, and, going in over the horns, put 
the sword all the way into a little spot about as big as a five- 
peseta piece straight in back of the neck, between the sharp 
pitch of the bull's shoulders. He must do all this and must 
then come out from between the horns. He was conscious 
he must do all this, but his only thought was in words: 'Corto 
y derecho.' 

'Corto y derecho,' he thought, furling the muleta. Short 
and straight. Corto y derecho, he drew the word out of the 
muleta, profiled on the splintered left horn, dropped the 
muleta across his body, so his right hand with the sword on 
the level with his eye made the sign of the cross, and, rising 
on his toes, sighted along the dipping blade of the sword at 
the spot high up between the bull's shoulders. 

Corto y derecho he launched himself on the bull. 

There was a shock, and he felt himself go up in the air. He 
pushed on the sword as he went up and over, and it flew out 
of his hand. He hit the ground and the bull was on him. 
Manuel, lying on the ground, kicked at the bull's muzzle with 
his slippered feet. Kicking, kicking, the bull after him, 
missing him in his excitement, bumping him with his head, 


driving the horns into the sand. Kicking like a man keeping 
a ball in the air, Manuel kept the bull from getting a clean 
thrust at him. 

Manuel felt the wind on his back from the capes 
flopping at the bull, and then the bull was gone, gone 
over him in a rush. Dark, as his belly went over. Not even 
stepped on. 

Manuel stood up and picked up the muleta. Fuentes 
handed him the sword. It was bent where it had struck the 
shoulder-blade. Manuel straightened it on his knee and ran 
toward the bull, standing now beside one of the dead horses* 
As he ran, his jacket flopped where it had been ripped under 
his armpit. 

'Get him out of there,' Manuel shouted to the gipsy. The 
bull had smelled the blood of the dead horse and ripped into 
the canvas cover with his horns. He charged Fuentes's cape, 
with the canvas hanging from his splintered horn, and the 
crowd laughed. Out in the ring, he tossed his head to rid 
himself of the canvas. Hernandez, running up from behind 
him, grabbed the end of the canvas and neatly lifted it off 
the horn. 

The bull followed it in a half-charge and stopped still. He 
was on the defensive again. Manuel was walking toward him 
with the sword and muleta. Manuel swung the muleta 
before him. The bull would not charge. 

Manuel profiled toward the bull, sighting along the 
dipping blade of the sword. The bull was motionless, 
seemingly dead on his feet, incapable of another charge. 

Manuel rose to his toes, sighting along the steel, and 

Again there was the shock and he felt himself being borne 
back in a rush, to strike hard on the sand. There was no 
chance of kicking this time. The bull was on top of him. 
Manuel lay as though dead, his head on his arms, and the 
bull bumped him. Bumped his back, bumped his face in the 
sand. He felt the horn go into the sand between his folded 


arms. The bull hit him in the small of the back. His face 
drove into the sand. The horn drove through one of his 
sleeves and the bull ripped it off. Manuel was tossed clear 
and the bull followed the capes. 

Manuel got up, found the sword and muleta, tried the 
point of the sword with his thumb, and then ran toward the 
barrcra for a new sword. 

Retana's man handed him the sword over the edge of the 

'Wipe off your face/ he said. 

Manuel, running again toward the bull, wiped his bloody 
face with his handkerchief. He had not seen Zurito. Where 
was Zurito? 

The cuadrilla had stepped away from the bull and waited 
with their capes. The bull stood, heavy and dull again after 
the action. 

Manuel walked toward him with the muleta. He stopped 
and shook it. The bull did not respond. He passed it right 
and left, left and right before the bull's muzzle. The bull's 
eyes watched it and turned with the swing, but he would not 
charge. He was waiting for Manuel. 

Manuel was worried. There was nothing to do but go in. 
Corto y derecho. He profiled close to the bull, crossed the 
muleta in front of his body and charged. As he pushed in the 
sword, he jerked his body to the left to clear the horn. The 
bull passed him and the sword shot up in the air, twinkling 
under the arc-lights, to fall red-hiked on the sand. 

Manuel ran over and picked it up. It was bent and he 
straightened it over his knee. 

As he came running toward the bull, fixed again now, he 
passed Hernandez standing with his cape. 

'He's all bone,' the boy said encouragingly. 

Manuel nodded, wiping his face. He put the bloody 
handkerchief in his pocket. 

There was the bull. He was close to the barrera now. 
Damn him. Maybe he was all bone. Maybe there was not 


any place for the sword to go in. The hell there wasn't! 
He'd show them. 

He tried a pass with the muleta and the bull did not move. 
Manuel chopped the muleta back and forth in front of the 
bull. Nothing doing. 

He furled the muleta, drew the sword out, profiled and 
drove it on the bull. He felt the sword buckle as he shoved it 
in, leaning his weight on it, and then it shot high in the air, 
end-over-ending into the crowd. Manuel had jerked clear as 
the sword jumped. 

The first cushions thrown down out of the dark missed him. 
Then one hit him in the face, his bloody face looking toward 
the crowd. They were coming down fast. Spotting the sand. 
Somebody threw an empty champagne bottle from close 
range. It hit Manuel on the foot. He stood there watching 
the dark, where the things were coming from. Then some- 
thing whisked through the air and struck by him. Manuel 
leaned over and picked it up. It was his sword. He straightened 
it over his knee and gestured with it to the crowd. 

'Thank you,' he said. 'Thank you!' 

Oh, the dirty bastards! Dirty bastards! Oh, the lousy, 
dirty bastards! He kicked into a cushion as he ran. 

There was the bull. The same as ever. All right, you dirty, 
lousy bastard! 

Manuel passed the muleta in front of the bull's black 

Nothing doing. 

You won't! All right. He stepped close and jammed the 
sharp peak of the muleta into the bull's damp muzzle. 

The bull was on him as he jumped back and as he tripped 
on a cushion he felt the horn go into him, into his side. He 
grabbed the horn with his two hands and rode backward, 
holding tight on to the place. The bull tossed him and he was 
clear. He lay still. It was all right. The bull was gone. 

He got up coughing and feeling broken and gone. The 
dirty bastards! 


'Give me the sword/ he shouted. 'Give me the stuff.' 

Fuentes came up with the muleta and the sword. 

Hernandez put his arm around him. 

'Go on to the infirmary, man/ he said. 'Don't be a damn 
fool. 5 

'Get away from me/ Manuel said. 'Get to hell away from 

He twisted free. Hernandez shrugged his shoulders. 
Manuel ran toward the bull. 

There was the bull standing, heavy, firmly planted. 

All right, you bastard! Manuel drew the sword out of the 
muleta, sighted with the same movement, and flung himself 
on to the bull. He felt the sword go in all the way. Right up 
to the guard. Four fingers and his thumb into the bull. The 
blood was hot on his knuckles, and he was on top of the bull. 

The bull lurched with him as he lay on, and seemed to 
sink; then he was standing clear. He looked at the bull going 
down slowly over on his side, then suddenly four feet in the 

Then he gestured at the crowd, his hand warm from the 
bull blood. 

All right, you bastards! He wanted to say something, but 
he started to cough. It was hot and choking. He looked 
down for the muleta. He must go over and salute the presi- 
dent. President hell! He was sitting down looking at some- 
thing. It was the bull. His four feet up. . Thick tongue out. 
Things crawling around on his belly and under his legs. 
Crawling where the hair was thin. Dead bull. To hell with 
the bull! To hell with them all! He started to get to his feet 
and commenced to cough. He sat down again, coughing. 
Somebody came and pushed him up. 

They carried him across the ring to the infirmary, running 
with him across the sand, standing blocked at the gate as the 
mules came in, then around under the dark passageway, men 
grunting as they took him up the stairway, and then laid him 


The doctor and two men in white were waiting for him. 
They laid him out on the table. They were cutting away his 
shirt. Manuel felt tired. His whole chest felt scalding inside. 
He started to cough and they held something to his mouth. 
Everybody was very busy. 

There was an electric light in his eyes. He shut his eyes. 

He heard someone coming very heavily up the stairs. Then 
he did not hear it. Then he heard a noise far off. That was 
the crowd. Well, somebody would have to kill his other bull. 
They had cut away all his shirt. The doctor smiled at him. 
There was Retana. 

'Hello, Retana!' Manuel said. He could not hear his voice. 

Retana smiled at him and said something. Manuel could 
not hear it. 

Zurito stood beside the table, bending over where the 
doctor was working. He was in his picador clothes, without 
his hat. 

Zurito said something to him. Manuel could not hear it. 

Zurito was speaking to Retana. One of the men in white 
smiled and handed Retana a pair of scissors. Retana gave 
them to Zurito. Zurito said something to Manuel. He could 
not hear it. 

To hell with this operating-table. He'd been on plenty of 
operating-tables before. He was not going to die. There 
would be a priest if he was going to die. 

Zurito was saying something to him. Holding up the 

That was it. They were going to cut off his coleta. They 
were going to cut off his pigtail. 

Manuel sat up on the operating-table. The doctor stepped 
back, angry. Someone grabbed him and held him. 

'You couldn't do a thing like that, Manos,' he said. 

He heard suddenly, clearly, Zurito's voice. 

'That's all right,' Zurito said. 'I won't do it. I was joking/ 

'I was going good,' Manuel said. 'I didn't have any luck. 
That was all.' 


Manuel lay back. They had put something over his face. 
It was all familiar. He inhaled deeply. He felt very tired. 
He was very, very tired. They took the thing away from his 

*I was going good,' Manuel said weakly, 'I was going 

Retana looked at Zurito and started for the door. 

Til stay here with him/ Zurito said. 

Retana shrugged his shoulders. 

Manuel opened his eyes and looked at Zurito. 

'Wasn't I going good, Manos?' he asked, for confirmation. 

'Sure,' said Zurito. 'You were going great.' 

The doctor's assistant put the cone over Manuel's face and 
he inhaled deeply. Zurito stood awkwardly > watching. 


IN the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it 
any more. It Was cold in the fall in Milan and the dark came 
very early. Then the electric lights came on, and it was 
pleasant along the streets looking in the windows. There was 
much game hanging outside the shops, and the snow 
powdered in the fur of the foxes and the wind blew their 
tails. The deer hung stiff and heavy and empty, and small 
birds blew in the wind and the wind turned their feathers. It 
was a cold fall and the wind came down from the mountains. 

We were all at the hospital every afternoon, and there were 
different ways of walking across the town through the dusk to 
the hospital. Two of the ways were alongside canals, but they 
were long. Always, though, you crossed a bridge across a 
canal to enter the hospital. There was a choice of three 
bridges. On one of them a woman sold roasted chestnuts. 
It was warm, standing in front of her charcoal fire, and the 
chestnuts were warm afterward in your pocket. The hospital 
was very old and very beautiful, and you entered through a 
gate and walked across a courtyard and out a gate on the 
tothdt?* side. There were usually funerals starting from the 
courtyard. Beyond the old hospital were the new brick 
pavilions, and there we met every afternoon and were all 
very polite and interested in what was the matter, and sat 
in the machines that were to make so much difference. 

The doctor came up to the machine where I was sitting 
and said: 'What did you like best to do before the war? Did 
you practise a sport?' 

I said: 'Yes, football.' 

'Good,' he said. 'You will be able to play football again 
better than ever.' 

My knee did not bend and the leg dropped straight from 
the knee to the ankle without a calf, and the machine was to 



bend the knee and make it move as in riding a tricycle. But 
it did not bend yet, and instead the machine lurched when 
it came to the bending part. The doctor said: 'That will all 
pass. You are a fortunate young man. You will play football 
again like a champion.' 

In the next machine was a major who had a little hand like 
a baby's. He winked at me when the doctor examined his 
hand, which was between two leather straps that bounced up 
and down and flapped the stiff fingers, and said: 'And will I 
too play football, captain-doctor?' He had been a very great 
fencer, and before the war the greatest fencer in Italy. 

The doctor went to his office in a back room and brought a 
photograph which showed a hand that had been withered 
almost as small as the major's, before it had taken a machine 
course, and after was a little larger. The major held the 
photograph with his good hand and looked at it very carefully. 
'A wound?' he asked. 

'An industrial accident,' the doctor said. 

'Very interesting, very interesting,' the major said, and 
handed it back to the doctor. 

'You have confidence?' 

'No,' said the major. 

There were three boys who came each day who were about 
the same age I was. They were all three from Milan, and one 
of them was to be a lawyer, and one was to be a painter, and 
one had intended to be a soldier, and after we were finished 
with the machines, sometimes we walked back together to the 
Cafe Cova, which was next door to the Scala. We walked the 
short way through the communist quarter because we were 
four together. The people hated us because we were officers, 
and from a wine-shop someone called out, 'A basso gli 
ufficiali!' as we passed. Another boy who walked with us 
sometimes and made us five wore a black silk handkerchief 
across his face because 1 he had no nose then and his face was 
to be rebuilt. He had gone out to the front from the military 
academy and been wounded within an hour after he had 


gone into the front line for the first time. They rebuilt his 
face, but he came from a very old family and they could 
never get the nose exactly right. He went to South America 
and worked in a bank. But this was a long time ago, and 
then we did not any of us know how it was going to be after- 
ward. We only knew then that there was always the war, 
but that we were not going to it any more. 

We all had the same medals, except the boy with the black 
silk bandage across his face, and he had not been at the front 
long enough to get any medals. The tall boy with a very pale 
face who was to be a lawyer had been a lieutenant of Arditi 
and had three medals of the sort we each had only one of. 
He had lived a very long time with death and was a little 
detached. We were all a little detached, and there was 
nothing that held us together except that we met every 
afternoon at the hospital. Although, as we walked to the 
Cova through the tough part of town, walking in the dark, 
with light and singing coming out of the wineshops, and 
sometimes having to walk into the street when the men and 
women would crowd together on the sidewalk so that we 
would have had to jostle them to get by, we felt held together 
by there being something that had happened that they, the 
people who disliked us, did not understand. 

We ourselves all understood the Cova, where it was rich 
and warm and not too brightly lighted, and noisy and 
smoky at certain hours, and there were always girls at the 
tables and the illustrated papers on a rack on the wall. The 
girls at the Cova were very patriotic, and I found that the 
most patriotic people in Italy were the cafe girls and I 
believe they are still patriotic. 

The boys at first were very polite about my medals and 
asked me what I had done to get them. I showed them the 
papers, which were written in very beautiftil language and 
full offratellanza and abnegazione, but which really said, with 
the adjectives removed, that I had been given the medals 
because I was an American. After that their manner 


changed a little toward me, although I was their friend 
against outsiders. I was a friend, but I was never really one 
of them, after they had read the citations, because it had been 
different with them and they had done very different things 
to get their medals. I had been wounded, it was true; but 
we all knew that being wounded, after all, was really an 
accident. I was never ashamed of the ribbons, though, and 
sometimes, after the cocktail hour, I would imagine myself 
having done all the things they had done to get their medals; 
but walking home at night through the empty streets with 
the cold wind and all the shops closed, trying to keep near 
the street lights, I knew that I would never have done such 
things, and I was very much afraid to die, and often lay in 
bed at night by myself, afraid to die and wondering how I 
would be when I went back to the front again. 

The three with the medals were like hunting-hawks; and I 
was not a hawk, although I might seem a hawk to those who 
had never hunted; they, the three, knew better and so we 
drifted apart. But I stayed good friends with the boy who 
had been wounded his first day at the front, because he 
would never know now how he would have turned out; so he 
could never be accepted either, and I liked him because I 
thought perhaps he would not have turned out to be a hawk 

The major, who had been the great fencer, did not believe 
in bravery, and spent much time while we sat in the machines 
correcting my grammar. He had complimented me on how 
I spoke Italian, and we talked together very easily. One day 
I had said that Italian seemed such an easy language to me 
that I could not take a great interest in it; everything was 
so easy to say. 'Ah, yes,' the major said. 'Why, then, do you 
not take up the use of grammar?' So we took up the use of 
grammar, and soon Italian was such a difficult language 
that I was afraid to talk to him until I had the grammar 
straight in my mind. 

The major came very regularly to the hospital. I do not 


think he ever missed a day, although I am sure he did not 
believe in the machines. There was a time when none of us 
believed in the machines, and one day the major said it was 
all nonsense. The machines were new then and it was we 
who were to prove them. It was an idiotic idea, he said, 'a 
theory, like another'. I had not learned my grammar, and 
he said I was a stupid impossible disgrace, and he was a fool 
to have bothered with me. He was a small man and he sat 
straight up in his chair with his right hand thrust into the 
machine and looked straight ahead at the wall while the 
straps thumped up and down with his fingers in them. 

'What will you do when the war is over, if it is over?' he 
asked me. 'Speak grammatically!' 

'I will go to the States.' 

'Are you married?' 

'No, but I hope to be.' 

'The more of a fool you are,' he said. He seemed very 
angry. 'A man must not marry.' 

'Why, Signor Maggiore?' 

'Don't call me "Signor Maggiore".' 

'Why must not a man marry?' 

'He cannot marry. He cannot marry,' he said angrily. 
'If he is to lose everything, he should not place himself in a 
position to lose that. He should not place himself in a position 
to lose. He should find things he cannot lose.' 

He spoke very angrily and bitterly, and looked straight 
ahead while he talked. 

'But why should he necessarily lose it?' 

'He'll lose it,' the major said. He was looking at the wall. 
Then he looked down at the machine and jerked his little 
hand out from between the straps and slapped it hard against 
his thigh. 'He'll lose it,' he almost shouted. 'Don't argue 
with me!' Then he called to the attendant who ran the 
machines. 'Come and turn this damned thing off.' 

He went back into the other room for the light treatment 
and the massage. Then I heard him ask the doctor if he 


might use his telephone and he shut the door. When he 
came back into the room, I was sitting in another machine. 
He was wearing his cape and had his cap on, and he came 
directly toward my machine and put his arm on my shoulder. 

'I am so sorry,' he said, and patted me on the shoulder 
with his good hand. 'I would not be rude. My wife has just 
died. You must forgive me.' 

<Oh ' I said, feeling sick for him. 'I am so sorry.' 

He stood there biting his lower lip. 'It is very difficult,' 
he said. 'I cannot resign myself.' 

He looked straight past me and out through the window. 
Then he began to cry. 'I am utterly unable to resign myself,' 
he said and choked. And then crying, his head up looking 
at nothing, carrying himself straight and soldierly, with 
tears on both his checks and biting his lips, he walked past 
the machines and out the door. 

The doctor told me that the major's wife, who was very 
young and whom he had not married until he was definitely 
invalided out of the war, had died of pneumonia. She had 
been sick only a few days. No one expected her to die. The 
major did not come to the hospital for three days. Then he 
came at the usual hour, wearing a black band on the sleeve 
of his uniform. When he came back, there were large 
framed photographs around the wall, of all sorts of wounds 
before and after they had been cured by the machines. In 
front of the machine the major used were three photographs 
of hands like his that were completely restored. I do not 
know where the doctor got them. I always understood we 
were the first to use the machines. The photographs did not 
make much difference to the major because he only looked 
out of the window. 


IT was hot coining down into the valley even in the early 
morning. The sun melted the snow from the skis we were 
carrying and dried the wood. It was spring in the valley but 
the sun was very hot. We came along the road into Galtur 
carrying our skis and rucksacks. As we passed the church- 
yard a burial was just over. I said, 'Griiss Gott', to the priest 
as he walked past us coming out of the churchyard. The 
priest bowed. 

'It's funny a priest never speaks to you, 5 John said. 

'You'd think they'd like to say "Griiss Gott".' 

'They never answer,' John said. 

We stopped in the road and watched the sexton shovelling 
in the new earth. A peasant with a black beard and high 
leather boots stood beside the grave. The sexton stopped 
shovelling and straightened his back. The peasant in the 
high boots took the spade from the sexton and went on filling 
in the grave spreading the earth evenly as a man spread- 
ing manure in a garden. In the bright May morning the 
grave-filling looked unreal. I could not imagine anyone 
being dead. 

'Imagine being buried on a day like this/ I said to John. 
' 'I wouldn't like it.' 

'Well,' I said, 'we don't have to do it.' 

We went on up the road past the houses of the town to the 
inn. We had been skiing in the Silvretta for a month, and it 
was good to be down in the valley. In the Silvretta the skiing 
had been all right, but it was spring skiing, the snow was good 
only in the early morning and again in the evening. The 
rest of the time it was spoiled by the sun. We were both tired 
of the sun. You could not get away from the sun. The only 
shadows were made by rocks or by the hut that was built 
under the protection of a rock beside a glacier, and in the 


shade the sweat froze in your underclothing. You could not 
sit outside the hut without dark glasses. It was pleasant to 
be burned black but the sun had been very tiring. You 
could not rest in it. I was glad to be down away from snow. 
It was too late in the spring to be up in the Silvretta. I was 
a little tired of skiing. We had stayed too long. I could taste 
the snow water we had been drinking melted off the tin roof 
of the hut. The taste was a part of the way I felt about skiing. 
I was glad there were other things beside skiing, and I was 
glad to be down, away from the unnatural high mountain 
spring, into this May morning in the valley. 

The innkeeper sat on the porch of the inn, his chair tipped 
back against the wall. Beside him sat the cook. 

'Ski-heil!' said the innkeeper. 

'Heil!' we said and leaned the skis against the wall and 
took off our packs. 

'How was it up above?' asked the innkeeper. 

'Schon. A little too much sun.' 

'Yes. There's too much sun this time of year.' 

The cook sat on in his chair. The innkeeper went in with 
us and unlocked his office and brought out our mail. There 
was a bundle of letters and some papers. 

'Let's get some beer,' John said. 

'Good. We'll drink it inside.' 

The proprietor brought two bottles and we drank them 
while we read the letters. 

'We better have some more beer,' John said. A girl brought 
it this time. She smiled as she opened the bottles. 

'Many letters,' she said. 

'Yes. Many.' 

'Prosit,' she said and went out, taking the empty bottles. 

'I'd forgotten what beer tasted like. 5 

'I hadn't,' John said. 'Up in the hut I used to think about 
it a lot.' 

'Well,' I said, 'we've got it now.' 

'You oughtn't to ever do anything too long.' 


'No. We were up there too long.' 

Too damn long/ John said. 'It's no good doing a thing 
too long.' 

The sun came through the open window and shone 
through the beer bottles on the table. The bottles were half 
full. There w&s a little froth on the beer in the bottles, not 
much because it was very cold. It collared up when you 
poured it into the tall glasses. I looked out of the open win- 
dow at the white road. The trees beside the road were dusty. 
Beyond was a green field and a stream. There were trees 
along the stream and a mill with a water wheel. Through 
the open side of the mill I saw a long log and a saw in it 
rising and falling. No one seemed to be tending it. There 
were four crows walking in the green field. One crow sat in 
a tree watching. Outside on the porch the cook got off his 
chair and passed into the hall that led back into the kitchen. 
Inside, the sunlight shone through the empty glasses on the 
table. John was leaning forward with his head on his arms. 

Through the window I saw two men come up the front 
steps. They came into the drinking room. One was the 
bearded peasant in the high boots. The other was the sexton. 
They sat down at the table under the window. The girl came 
in and stood by their table. The peasant did not seem to see 
her. He sat with his hands on the table. He wore his old 
army clothes. There were patches on the elbows. 

'What will it be? 3 asked the sexton. The peasant did not 
pay any attention. 

'What will you drink? 5 

'Schnapps,' the peasant said. 

'And a quarter litre of red wine/ the sexton told the girl. 

The girl brought the drinks and the peasant drank the 
schnapps. He looked out of the window. The sexton 
watched him. John had his head forward on the table. He 
was asleep. 

The innkeeper came in and went over to the table. He 
spoke in dialect and the sexton answered him. The peasant 


looked out of the window. The innkeeper went out of the 
room. The peasant stood up. He took a folded ten-thousand 
kronen note out of a leather pocketbook and unfolded it. 
The girl came up. 

'Alles?' she asked. 

'Alles,' he said. 

'Let me buy the wine,' the sexton said. 

'Alles,' the peasant repeated to the girl. She put her hand 
in the pocket of her apron, brought it out full of coins and 
counted out the change. The peasant went out the door. As 
soon as he was gone the innkeeper came into the room again 
and spoke to the sexton. He sat down at the table. They 
talked in dialect. The sexton was amused. The innkeeper 
was disgusted. The sexton stood up from the table. He was a 
little man with a moustache. He leaned out of the window 
and looked up the road. 

'There he goes in,' he said. 

'In the Lowen?' 

' Ja '' 

They talked again and then the innkeeper came over to 

our table. The innkeeper was a tall man and old. He looked 
at John asleep. 

'He's pretty tired.' 

'Yes, we were up early.' 

'Will you want to eat soon?' 

'Any time/ I said. 'What is there to eat?' 

'Anything you want. The girl will bring the eating-card.' 

The girl brought the menu. John woke up. The menu 
was written in ink on a card and the card slipped into a 
wooden paddle. 

'There's the speise-karte,' I said to John. He looked at it. 
He was still sleepy. 

'Won't you have a drink with us?' I asked the innkeeper. 
He sat down. 'Those peasants are beasts,' said the inn- 

*We saw that one at a funeral coming into town. 5 


'That was his wife. 5 

'Oh. 5 

'He's a beast. All these peasants are beasts. 5 

'How do you mean? 5 

'You wouldn't believe it. You wouldn't believe what just 
happened about that one. 3 

'Tell me. 5 

'You wouldn't believe it. 5 The innkeeper spoke to the 
sexton. 'Franz, come over here.' The sexton came, bringing 
his little bottle of wine and his glass. 

'The gentlemen are just come down from the Wiesbadener- 
hiitte,' the innkeeper said. We shook hands. 

'What will you drink?' I asked. 

'Nothing, 5 Franz shook his finger. 

'Another quarter litre?' 

'All right.' 

'Do you understand dialect?' the innkeeper asked. 


'What's it all about?' John asked. 

'He's going to tell us about the peasant we saw filling the 
grave, coming into town. 5 

'I can't understand it, anyway,' John said. 'It goes too- 
fast for me. 5 

'That peasant,' the innkeeper said, 'to-day he brought his 
wife in to be buried. She died last November. 5 

'December,' said the sexton. 

'That makes nothing. She died last December then, and 
he notified the commune. 5 

'December eighteenth, 5 said the sexton. 

'Anyway, he couldn't bring her over to be buried until the 
snow was gone.' 

'He lives on the other side of the Paznaun,' said the 
sexton. 'But he belongs to this parish.' 

'He couldn't bring her out at all? 5 I asked. 

'No. He can only come, from where he lives, on skis until 
the snow melts. So to-day he brought her in to be buried 



and the priest, when he looked at her face, didn't want to 
bury her. You go on and tell it,' he said to the sexton. 'Speak 
German, not dialect.' 

'It was very funny with the priest,' said the sexton. 'In the 
report to the commune she died of heart trouble. We knew 
she had heart trouble here. She used to fai'nt in church 
sometimes. She did not come for a long time. She wasn't 
strong to climb. When the priest uncovered her face he asked 
Olz, "Did your wife suffer much?" "No," said Olz. "When 
I came in the house she was dead across the bed." 

'The priest looked at her again. He didn't like it. 

' "How did her face get that way?" 

' "I don't know," Olz said. 

' "You'd better find out," the priest said, and put the 
blanket back. Olz didn't say anything. The priest looked at 
him. Olz looked back at the priest. "You want to know?" 

' "I must know," the priest said.' 

'This is where it's good,' the innkeeper said. 'Listen to 
this. Go on, Franz.' 

' "Well," said Olz, "when she died I made the report to 
the commune and I put her in the shed across the top of the 
big wood. When I started to use the big wood she was stiff 
and I put her up against the wall. Her mouth was open and 
when I came into the shed at night to cut up the big wood, I 
hung the lantern from it." 

' "Why did you do that?" asked the priest. 

' "I don't know," said Olz. 

' "Did you do that many times?" 

' "Every time I went to work in the shed at night." 

' "It was very wrong," said the priest. "Did you love your 

' "Ja, I loved her," Olz said. "I loved her fine.'" 

'Did you understand it all?' asked the innkeeper. 'You 
understand it all about his wife?' 

'I heard it.' 

'How about eating?' John asked, 


'You order,' I said. 'Do you think it's true?' I asked the 

'Sure it's true/ he said. 'These peasants are beasts.' 

'Where did he go now?' 

'He's gone to drink at my colleague's, the Lowen.' 

'He didn't want to drink with me/ said the sexton. 

'He didn't want to drink with me, after he knew about his 
wife/ said the innkeeper. 

'Say/ said John. 'How about eating?' 

'All right/ I said. 


WILLIAM CAMPBELL had been in a pursuit race with a bur- 
lesque show ever since Pittsburgh. In a pursuit race, in 
bicycle racing, riders start at equal intervals to ride after 
one another. They ride very fast because the race is usually 
limited to a short distance and if they slow their riding 
another rider who maintains his pace will make up the space 
that separated them equally at the start. As soon as a rider 
is caught and passed he is out of the race and must get down 
from his bicycle and leave the track. If none of the riders 
are caught the winner of the race is the one who has gained 
the most distance. In most pursuit races, if there are only 
two riders, one of the riders is caught inside of six miles. The 
burlesque show caught William Campbell at Kansas City. 

William Campbell had hoped to hold a slight lead over the 
burlesque show until they reached the Pacific coast. As long 
as he preceded the burlesque show as advance man he was 
being paid. When the burlesque show caught up with him 
he was in bed. He was in bed when the manager of the bur- 
lesque troupe came into his room and after the manager had 
gone out he decided that he might as well stay in bed. It 
was very cold in Kansas City and he was in no hurry to go 
out. He did not like Kansas City. He reached under the bed 
for a bottle and drank. It made his stomach feel better. Mr. 
Turner, the manager of the burlesque show, had refused a 

William Campbell's interview with Mr. Turner had been a 
little strange. Mr. Turner had knocked on the door. Camp- 
bell had said: 'Come in! 5 When Mr. Turner came into the 
room he saw clothing on a chair, an open suitcase, the bottle 
on a chair beside the bed, and someone lying in the bed 
completely covered by the bed-clothes. 

'Mister Campbell,' Mr. Turner said. 



'You can't fire me,' William Campbell said from under- 
neath the covers. It was warm and white and close under 
the covers. c You can't fire me because I've got down off my 
bicycle. 5 

'You're drunk,' Mr. Turner said. 

'Oh, yes,' William Campbell said, speaking directly 
against the sheet and feeling the texture with his lips. 

'You're a fool,' Mr. Turner said. He turned off the electric 
light. The electric light had been burning all night. It was 
now ten o'clock in the morning. 'You're a drunken fool. 
When did you get into this town?' 

'I got into this town last night,' William Campbell said, 
speaking against the sheet. He found he liked to talk through 
a sheet. 'Did you ever talk through a sheet?' 

'Don't try to be funny. You aren't funny.' 

Tm not being funny. I'm just talking through a sheet.' 

'You're talking through a sheet all right.' 

'You can go now, Mr. Turner,' Campbell said. 'I don't 
work for you any more.' 

'You know that anyway.' 

'I know a lot,' William Campbell said. He pulled down 
the sheet and looked at Mr. Turner. 'I know enough so I 
don't mind looking at you at all. Do you want to hear what 
I know?' 


'Good,' said William Campbell. 'Because really I don't 
know anything at all. I was just talking.' He pulled the sheet 
up over his face again. 'I love it under a sheet,' he said. Mr. 
Turner stood beside the bed. He was a middle-aged man 
with a large stomach and a bald head and he had many 
things to do. 'You ought to stop off here, Billy, and take 
a cure,' he said. 'I'll fix it up if you want to do it.' 

'I don't want to take a cure,' William Campbell said. C I 
don't want to take a cure at all. I am perfectly happy. All 
my life I have been perfectly happy.' 

'How long have you been this way?' 


'What a question!' William Campbell breathed in and out 
through the sheet. 

'How long have you been stewed, Billy?' 

'Haven't I done my work?' 

'Sure. I just asked you how long you've been stewed, Billy.' 

'I don't know. But I've got my wolf back/ he touched 
the sheet with his tongue. 'I've had him for a week.' 

'The hell you have.' 

'Oh, yes. My dear wolf. Every time I take a drink he goes 
outside the room. He can't stand alcohol. The poor little 
fellow.' He moved his tongue round and round on the sheet. 
'He's a lovely wolf. He's just like he always was.' William 
Campbell shut his eyes and took a deep breath. 

'You got to take a cure, Billy,' Mr. Turner said. 'You 
won't mind the Keeley. It isn't bad.' 

'The Keeley,' William Campbell said. 'It isn't far from 
London.' He shut his eyes and opened them, moving the eye- 
lashes against the sheet. 'I just love sheets,' he said. He 
looked at Mr. Turner. 

'Listen, you think I'm drunk.' 

'You are drunk.' 

'No, I'm not.' 

'You're drunk and you've had D.Ts.' 

'No.' William Campbell held the sheet around his head. 
'Dear sheet,' he said. He breathed against it gently. 'Pretty 
sheet. You love me, don't you, sheet? It's all in the price of 
the room. Just like in Japan. No,' he said. 'Listen, Billy, dear 
Sliding Billy, I have a surprise for you. I'm not drunk. I'm 
hopped to the eyes.' 

'No,' said Mr. Turner. 

'Take a look.' William Campbell pulled up the right 
sleeve of his pyjama jacket under the sheet, then shoved the 
right forearm out. 'Look at that.' On the forearm, from 
just above the wrist to the elbow, were small blue circles 
around tiny dark blue punctures. The circles almost 
touched one another. That's the new development/ 


William Campbell said. 'I drink a little now once in a while, 
just to drive the wolf out of the room.' 

'They got a cure for that,' 'Sliding Billy' Turner said. 

'No,' William Campbell said. 'They haven't got a cure 
for anything.] 

'You can't just quit like that, Billy,' Turner said. He sat 
on the bed. 

'Be careful of my sheet,' William Campbell said. 

'You can't just quit at your age and take to pumping your- 
self full of that stuff just because you got in a jam. 5 

'There's a law against it. If that's what you mean.' 

'No, I mean you got to fight it out.' 

Billy Campbell caressed the sheet with his lips and his 
tongue. 'Dear sheet,' he said. 'I can kiss this sheet and see 
right through it at the same time. 5 

'Cut it out about the sheet. You can't just take to that 
stuff, Billy.' 

William Campbell shut his eyes. He was beginning to feel 
a slight nausea. He knew that this nausea would increase 
steadily, without there ever being the relief of sickness, until 
something were done against it. It was at this point that he 
suggested that Mr. Turner have a drink. Mr. Turner 
declined. William Campbell took a drink from the bottle. 
It was a temporary measure. Mr. Turner watched him. Mr. 
Turner had been in this room much longer than he should 
have been, he had many things to do; although living in daily 
association with people who used drugs, he had a horror of 
drugs, and he was very fond of William Campbell; he did not 
wish to leave him. He was very sorry for him and he felt a 
cure might help. He knew there were good cures in Kansas 
City. But he had to go. He stood up. 

'Listen, Billy,' William Campbell said, 'I want to tell you 
something. You're called "Sliding Billy". That's because 
you can slide. I'm called just Billy. That's because I never 
could slide at all. I can't slide, Billy. I can't slide. It just 
catches. Every time I try it, it catches.' He shut his 


yes. 'I can't slide, Billy. It's awful when you can't slide.' 

'Yes/ said 'Sliding Billy' Turner. 

*Yes, what?' William Campbell looked at him. 

'You were saying.' 

'No,' said William Campbell. 'I wasn't saying. It must 
have been a mistake.' 

'You were saying about sliding.' 

'No. It couldn't have been about sliding. But listen, Billy, 
and I'll tell you a secret. Stick to sheets, Billy. Keep away 
from women and horses and, and ' he stopped ' eagles, 

Billy. If you love horses you'll get horse-s , and if you 

love eagles you'll get eagle-s .' He stopped and put his 

head under the sheet. 

'I got to go,' said 'Sliding Billy' Turner. 

'If you love women you'll get a dose,' William Campbell 
said. 'If you love horses * 

'Yes, you said that.' 

'Said what?' 

'About horses and eagles.' 

'Oh, yes. And if you love sheets.' He breathed on the sheet 
and stroked his nose against it. T don't know about sheets,' 
he said. 'I just started to love this sheet.' 

'I have to go,' Mr. Turner said. 'I got a lot to do.' 

That's all right,' William Campbell said. 'Everybody's 
got to go.' 

'I better go.' 

'All right, you go.' 

'Are you all right, Billy?' 

'I was never so happy in my life.' 

'And you're all right?' 

'I'm fine. You go along. I'll just lie here for a little while. 
Around noon I'll get up.' 

But when Mr. Turner came up to William Campbell's 
room at noon William Campbell was sleeping and as Mr. 
Turner was a man who knew what things in life were very 
valuable he did not wake him. 


Three Roman soldiers are in a drinking-place at eleven o'clock at 
night. There are barrels around the wall. Behind the wooden counter is 
a Hebrew wine-seller. The three Roman soldiers are a little cockeyed. 

IST SOLDIER You tried the red? 

2ND SOLDIER No, I ain't tried it. 

IST SOLDIER You better try it. 

2ND SOLDIER All right, George, we'll have a round of the 

HEBREW WINE-SELLER Here you are, gentlemen. You'll 
like that. (He sets down an earthenware pitcher that he has filled 
from one of the casks) That's a nice little wine. 

IST SOLDIER Have a drink of it yourself. (He turns to the 
third Roman soldier who is leaning on a barrel) What's the matter 
with you? 

3RD SOLDIER I got a gut-ache. 

2ND SOLDIER You've been drinking water. 

IST SOLDIER Try some of the red. 

3RD SOLDIER I can't drink the damn stuff. It makes my 
gut sour. 

IST SOLDIER You been out here too long. 

3RD SOLDIER Hell, don't I know it? 

IST SOLDIER Say, George, can't you give this gentleman 
something to fix up his stomach? 

HEBREW WINE-SELLER I got it right here. 

( The third Roman soldier tastes the cup that the wine-seller has 
mixed for him) 

3RD SOLDIER Hey, what you put in that, camel chips? 

WINE-SELLER You drink that right down, Lootenant. 
That'll fix you up right. 

3RD SOLDIER Well, I couldn't feel any worse. 

IST SOLDIER Take a chance on it. George fixed me up fine 
the other day. 



WINE-SELLER You were in bad shape, Lootenant. I know 
what fixes up a bad stomach. 

( The third Roman soldier drinks the cup down) 

3RD SOLDIER Jesus Christ. (He makes a face) 

2ND SOLDIER That false alarm! 

IST SOLDIER Oh, I don't know. He was pretty good in 
there to-day. 

2ND SOLDIER 'Why didn't he come down off the cross? 

IST SOLDIER He didn't want to come down off the cross. 
That's not his play. 

2ND SOLDIER Show me a guy that doesn't want to come 
down off the cross. 

IST SOLDIER Aw, hell, you don't know anything about it. 
Ask George there. Did he want to come down off the cross, 

WINE-SELLER I'll tell you, gentlemen, I wasn't out there. 
It's a thing I haven't taken any interest in. 

2ND SOLDIER Listen, I seen a lot of them here and 
plenty of other places. Any time you show me one that 
doesn't want to get down off the cross when the time comes 
when the time comes, I mean I'll climb right up with him. 

IST SOLDIER I thought he was pretty good in there to-day. 

3RD SOLDIER He was all right. 

2ND SOLDIER You guys don't know what I'm talking 
about. I'm not saying whether he was good or not. What 
I mean is, when the times comes. When they first start 
nailing him, there isn't none of them wouldn't stop it if 
they could. 

IST SOLDIER Didn't you follow it, George? 

WINE-SELLER No, I didn't take any interest in it, Loo- 

IST SOLDIER I was surprised how he acted. 

3RD SOLDIER The part I don't like is the nailing them on. 
You kpow, that must get to you pretty bad. 

2ND SOLDIER It isn't that that's so bad, as when they first 


lift 'em up. (He makes a lifting gesture with his two palms 
together) When the weight starts to pull on 'em. That's when 
it get's 'em. 

3RD SOLDIER It take some of them pretty bad. 

IST SOLDIER Ain't I seen 'em? I seen plenty of them. I tell 
you, he was pretty good in there to-day. 

( The second Roman soldier smiles at the Hebrew wine-seller) 

2ND SOLDIER You're a regular Christer, big boy. 
IST SOLDIER Sure, go on and kid him. But listen while I 
tell you something. He was pretty good in there to-day. 
2ND SOLDIER What about some more wine? 

( The wine-seller looks up expectantly. The third Roman soldier 
is sitting with his head down. He does not look well) 

3RD SOLDIER I don't want any more. 
2ND SOLDIER Just for two, George. 

( The wine-seller puts out a pitcher of wine, a size smaller than 
the last one. He leans forward on the wooden counter) 

IST SOLDIER You see his girl? 

2ND SOLDIER Wasn't I standing right by her? 

IST SOLDIER She's a nice-looker. 

2ND SOLDIER I knew her before he did. (He winks at the 

IST SOLDIER I used to see her around the town. 

2ND SOLDIER She used to have a lot of stuff. He never 
brought her no good luck. 

IST SOLDIER Oh, he ain't lucky. But he looked pretty good 
to me in there to-day. 

2ND SOLDIER What become of his gang? 

IST SOLDIER Oh, they faded out. Just the women stuck by 

2ND SOLDIER They were a pretty yellow crowd. When 
they seen him go up there they didn't want any of it. 

IST SOLDIER The women stuck all right. 


2ND SOLDIER Sure, they stuck all right. 

IST SOLDIER You see me slip the old spear into him? 

2ND SOLDIER You'll get into trouble doing that some day. 

IST SOLDIER It was the least I could do for him. I'll tell 
you he looked pretty good to me in there to-day. 

HEBREW WINE-SELLER Gentlemen, you know I got to close. 

IST SOLDIER We'll have one more round. 

2ND SOLDIER What's the use? This stuff don't get you 
anywhere. Come on, let's go. 

IST SOLDIER Just another round. 

3RD SOLDIER (getting up from the barrel) No, come on. Let's 
go. I feel like hell to-night. 

IST SOLDIER Just one more. 

2ND SOLDIER No, come on. We're going to go. Goodnight, 
George. Put it on the bill. 

WINE-SELLER Good night, gentlemen. (He looks a little 
worried) You couldn't let me have a little something on 
account, Lootenant? 

2ND SOLDIER What the hell, George ! Wednesday's pay-day. 

WINE-SELLER It's all right, Lootenant. Good night, 

(The three Roman soldiers go out the door into the street. 
Outside in the street) 

2ND SOLDIER George is a kike just like all the rest of them. 
IST SOLDIER Oh, George is a nice fella. 
2ND SOLDIER Everybody's a nice fella to you to-night. 
3RD SOLDIER Come on, let's go up to the barracks. I feel 
like hell to-night. 

2ND SOLDIER You been out here too long. 

3RD SOLDIER No, it ain't just that. I feel like hell. 

2ND SOLDIER You been out here too long. That's all. 



So he ate an orange, slowly spitting out the seeds. Outside, 
the snow was turning to rain. Inside, the electric stove 
seemed to give no heat and rising from his writing-table, he 
sat down upon the stove. How good it felt! Here, at last, 
was life. 

He reached for another orange. Far away in Paris, 
Mascart had knocked Danny Frush cuckoo in the second 
round. Far off in Mesopotamia, twenty-one feet of snow had 
fallen. Across the world in distant Australia, the English 
cricketers were sharpening up their wickets. There was 

Patrons of the arts and letters have discovered The Forum, 
he read. It is the guide, philosopher, and friend of the think- 
ing minority. Prize short stories will their authors write 
our best sellers of to-morrow? 

You will enjoy these warm, homespun, American tales, bits 
of real life on the open ranch, in crowded tenement or com- 
fortable home, and all with a healthy undercurrent of 

I must read them, he thought. 

He read on. Our children's children what of them? 
Who of them? New means must be discovered to find room 
for us under the sun. Shall this be done by war or can it be 
done by peaceful methods? 

Or will we all have to move to Canada? 

Our deepest convictions will Science upset them? Our 
civilization is it inferior to older orders of things? 

And meanwhile, in the far-off dripping jungles of Yucatan, 
sounded the chopping of the axes of the gum-choppers. 

Do we want big men or do we want them cultured? 
Take Joyce. Take President Coolidge. What star must our 
college students aim at? There is Jack Britton. There is 
Doctor Henry Van. Dyke. Can we reconcile the two? Take 
the case of Young Stribling. 



And what of our daughters who must make their own 
Soundings? Nancy Hawthorne is obliged to make her own 
Soundings in the sea of life. Bravely and sensibly she faces 
the problems which come to every girl of eighteen. 

It was a splendid booklet. 

Are you a girl of eighteen? Take the case of Joan of Arc. 
Take the case of Bernard Shaw. Take the case of Betsy Ross. 

Think of these things in 1925 Was there a risque page in 
Puritan history?. Were there two sides to Pocahontas? Did 
she have a fourth dimension? 

Are modern paintings and poetry Art? Yes and No. 
Take Picasso. 

Have tramps codes of conduct? Send your mind adventur- 

There is Romance everywhere. Forum writers talk to the 
point, are possessed of humour and wit. But they do not try 
to be smart and are never long-winded. 

Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, 
intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual. He laid down 
the booklet. 

And meanwhile, stretched flat on a bed in a darkened 
room in his house in Triana, Manuel Garcia Maera lay with 
a tube in each lung, drowning with the pneumonia. All the 
papers in Andalucia devoted special supplements to his 
death, which had been expected for some days. Men and 
boys bought full-length coloured pictures of him to remember 
him by, and lost the picture they had of him in their memo- 
ries by looking at the lithographs. Bull-fighters were very 
relieved he was dead, because he did always in the bull-ring 
the things they could only do sometimes. They all marched 
in the rain behind his coffin and there were one hundred and 
forty-seven bull-fighters followed him out to the cemetery, 
where they buried him in the tomb next to Joselito. After 
the funeral every one sat in the cafes out of the rain, and 
many coloured pictures of Maera were sold to meri who 
rolled them up and put them away in their pockets. 


IT was late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man 
who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the 
electric light. In the daytime the street was dusty, but at 
night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit 
late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he 
felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that 
the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good 
client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave 
without paying, so they kept watch on him. 

'Last week he tried to commit suicide,' one waiter said. 


'He was in despair.' 

'What about?' 


'How do you know it was nothing?' 

'He has plenty of money.' 

They sat together at a table that was close against the wall 
near the door of the cafe and looked at the terrace where the 
tables were all empty except where the old man sat in the 
shadow of the leaves of the tree that moved slightly in the 
wind. A girl and a soldier went by in the street. The street 
light shone on the brass number on his collar. The girl wore 
no head covering and hurried beside him. 

'The guard will pick him up/ one waiter said. 

'What does it matter if he gets what he's after?' 

'He had better get off the street now. The guard will get 
him. They went by five minutes ago.' 

The old man sitting in the shadow rapped on his saucer 
with his glass. The younger waiter went over to him. 

'What do you want?' 

The old man looked at him. 'Another brandy,' he said. 

'You'll be drunk/ the waiter said. The old man looked at 
him. The waiter went away. 


'He'll stay all night/ he said to his colleague. 'I'm sleepy 
now. I never get into bed before three o'clock. He should 
have killed himself last week.' 

The waiter took the brandy bottle and another saucer from 
the counter inside the cafe and marched out to the old man's 
table. He put down the saucer and poured the glass full of 

'You should have killed yourself last week,' he said to the 
deaf man. The old man motioned with his finger. { A little 
more/ he said. The waiter poured on into the glass so that 
the brandy slopped over and ran down the stem into the top 
saucer of the pile. 'Thank you/ the old man said. The 
waiter took the bottle back inside the cafe. He sat down at 
the table with his colleague again. 

'He's drunk now/ he said. 

'He's drunk every night.' 

'What did he want to kill himself for?' 

'How should I know?' 

'How did he do it?' 

'He hung himself with a rope.' 

'Who cut him down?' 

'His niece.' 

'Why did they do it?' 

'Fear for his soul.' 

'How much money has he got?' 

'He's got plenty.' 

'He must be eighty years old.' 

'Anyway I should say he was eighty.' 

'I wish he would go home. I never get to bed before three 
o'clock. What kind of hour is that to go to bed?' 

'He stays up because he likes it.' 

'He's lonely. I'm not lonely. I have a wife waiting in bed 
for me.' 

'He had a wife once too.' 

'A wife would be no good to him now.' 

'You can't tell. He might be better with a wife.' 


'His niece looks after him.' 

'I know. You said she cut him down. 5 

'I wouldn't want to be that old. An old man is a nasty thing.' 

'Not always. This old man is clean. He drinks without 
spilling. Even now, drunk. Look at him.' 

'I don't want to look at him. I wish he would go home. 
He has no regard for those who must work.' 

The old man looked from his glass across the square, then 
over at the waiters. 

'Another brandy,' he said, pointing to his glass. The 
waiter who was in a hurry came over. 

'Finished,' he said, speaking with that omission of syntax 
stupid people employ when talking to drunken people or 
foreigners. 'No more to-night. Close now.' 

'Another,' said the old man. 

'No. Finished/ The waiter wiped the edge of the table 
with a towel and shook his head. 

The old man stood up, slowly counted the saucers, took a 
leather coin purse from his pocket and paid for the drinks, 
leaving half a peseta tip. 

The waiter watched him go down the street, a very old 
man walking unsteadily but with dignity. 

'Why didn't you let him stay and drink?' the unhurried 
waiter asked. They were putting up the shutters. 'It is not 
half-past two.' 

'I want to go home to bed.' 

'What is an hour?' 

'More to me than to him.' 

'An hour is the same.' 

'You talk like an old man yourself. He can buy a bottle 
and drink at home. 5 

'It's not the same.' 

'No, it is not,' agreed the waiter with a wife. He did not 
wish to be unjust. He was only in a hurry. 

'And you? You have no fear of going home before your 
usual hour?' 


'Are you trying to insult me?' 

'No, hombre, only to make a joke.' 

'No,' the waiter who was in a hurry said, rising from 
pulling down the metal shutters. 'I have confidence. I am 
all confidence.' 

'You have youth, confidence, and a job,' the older waiter 
said. 'You have everything.' 

'And what do you lack?' 

'Everything but work.' 

'You have everything I have.' 

'No. I have never had confidence and I am not young.' 

'Gome on. Stop talking nonsense and lock up.' 

'I am of those who like to stay late at the cafe,' the older 
waiter said. 'With all those who do not want to go to bed. 
With all those who need a light for the night.' 

'I want to go home and into bed.' 

'We are of two different kinds,' the older waiter said. He 
was now dressed to go home. 'It is not only a question of 
youth and confidence, although those things are very beau- 
tiful. Each night I am reluctant to close up because there 
may be someone who needs the cafe.' 

'Hombre, there are bodegas open all night long.' 

'You do not understand. This is a clean and pleasant cafe. 
It is well lighted. The light is very good and also, now, there 
are shadows of the leaves.' 

'Good night,' said the younger waiter. 

'Good night,' the other said. Turning off the electric light 
he continued the conversation with himself. It is the light of 
course but it is necessary that the place be clean and pleasant. 
You do not want music. Certainly you do not want music. 
Nor can you stand before a bar with dignity although that is 
all that is provided for these hours. What did he fear? It was 
not fear or dread. It was a nothing that he knew too well. It 
was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. It was only that 
and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. 
Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada 


y pues nada y nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in 
nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada 
in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and 
nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into 
nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full 
of nothing, nothing is with thee. He smiled and stood before 
a bar with a shining steam pressure coffee machine. 

'What's yours?' asked the barman. 


'Otro loco mas,' said the barman and turned away. 

'A little cup,' said the waiter. 

The barman poured it for him. 

'The light is very bright and pleasant but the bar is un- 
polished,' the waiter said. 

The barman looked at him but did not answer. It was too 
late at night for conversation. 

'You want another copita?' the barman asked. 

'No, thank you,' said the waiter and went out. He disliked 
bars and bodegas. A clean, well-lighted cafe was a very 
different thing. Now, without thinking further, he would go 
home to his room. He would lie in the bed and finally, with 
daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, 
it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it. 


WHEN he saw us come in the door the bartender looked up 
and then reached over and put the glass covers on the two 
free-lunch bowls. 

'Give me a beer/ I said. He drew it, cut the top off with 
the spatula and then held the glass in his hand. I put the 
nickel on the wood and he slid the beer toward me. 

'What's yours?' he said to Tom. 


He drew that beer and cut it off and when he saw the 
money he pushed the beer across to Tom. 

'What's the matter?' Tom asked. 

The bartender didn't answer him. He just looked over our 
heads and said, 'What's yours?' to a man who'd come in. 

'Rye/ the man said. The bartender put out the bottle 
and glass and a glass of water. 

Tom reached over and took the glass off the free-lunch 
bowl. It was a bowl of pickled pigs' feet and there was a 
wooden thing that worked like a scissors, with two wooden 
forks at the end to pick them up with. 

'No/ said the bartender and put the glass cover back on 
the bowl. Tom held the wooden scissors fork in his hand. 
'Put it back/ said the bartender. 

'You know where/ said Tom. 

The bartender reached a hand forward under the bar, 
watching us both. I put fifty cents on the wood and he 
straightened up. 

'What was yours?' he said. 

'Beer/ I said, and before he drew the beer he uncovered 
both the bowls. 

'Your goddam pigs' feet stink/ Tom said, and spit what he 
had in his mouth on the floor. The bartender didn't say any- 
thing. The man who had drunk the rye paid and went out 
without looking back. 



'You stink yourself, 5 the bartender said. 'All you punks 

'He says we're punks,' Tommy said to me. 

'Listen,' I said. 'Let's get out.' 

'You punks clear the hell out of here,' the bartender said. 

'I said we were going out,' I said. 'It wasn't your idea.' 

'We'll be back,' Tommy said. 

'No you won't,' the bartender told him. 

'Tell him how wrong he is,' Tom turned to me. 

'Come on,' I said. 

Outside it was good and dark. 

'What the hell kind of place is this?' Tommy said. 

'I don't know,' I said. 'Let's go down to the station.' 

We'd come in that town at one end and we were going 
out the other. It smelled of hides and tan bark and the big 
piles of sawdust. It was getting dark as we came in, and now 
that it was dark it was cold and the puddles of water in the 
road were freezing at the edges. 

Down at the station there were five whores waiting for the 
train to come in, and six white men and four Indians. It was 
crowded and hot from the stove and full of stale smoke. As we 
came in nobody was talking and the ticket window was down. 

'Shut the door, can't you!' somebody said. 

I looked to see who said it. It was one of the white men. 
He wore stagged trousers and lumbermen's rubbers and a 
mackinaw shirt like the others, but he had no cap and his 
face was white and his hands were white and thin. 

'Aren't you going to shut it?' 

'Sure,' I said, and shut it. 

'Thank you,' he said. One of the other men snickered. 

'Ever interfere with a cook?' he said to me. 


'You can interfere with this one,' he looked at the cook. 
'He likes it. 5 , 

The cook looked away from him holding his lips tight 


'He puts lemon juice on his hands/ the man said. 'He 
wouldn't get them in dishwater for anything. Look how 
white they are.' 

One of the whores laughed out loud. She was the biggest 
whore I ever saw in my life and the biggest woman. And 
she had on one of those silk dresses that change colours. There 
were two other whores that were nearly as big but the big 
one must have weighed three hundred and fifty pounds. You 
couldn't believe she was real when you looked at her. All 
three had those changeable silk dresses. They sat side by side 
on the bench. They were huge. The other two were just 
ordinary looking whores, peroxide blondes. 

'Look at his hands,' the man said and nodded his head at 
the cook. The whore laughed again and shook all over. 

The cook turned and said to her quickly, 'You big disgust- 
ing mountain of flesh.' 

She just keep on laughing and shaking. 

'Oh, my Christ,' she said. She had a nice voice. 'Oh, my 
sweet Christ.' 

The two other whores, the big ones, acted very quiet and 
placid as though they didn't have much sense, but they were 
big, nearly as big as the biggest one. They'd have both gone 
well over two hundred and fifty pounds. The other two were 

Of the men, besides the cook and the one who talked, there 
were two other lumberjacks, one that listened, interested but 
bashful, and the other that seemed getting ready to say some- 
thing, and two Swedes. Two Indians were sitting down at the 
end of the bench and one standing up against the wall. 

The man who was getting ready to say something spoke to 
me very low, 'Must be like getting on top of a hay mow.' 

I laughed and said it to Tommy. 

'I swear to Christ I've never been anywhere like this,' he 
said. 'Look at the three of them.' Then the cook spoke up. 

'How old are you boys?' 

'I'm ninety-six and he's sixty-nine,' Tommy said. 


'Ho! Ho! Ho!' the big whore shook with laughing. She 
had a really pretty voice. The other whores didn't smile. 

'Oh, can't you be decent?' the cook said. 'I asked just to 
be friendly. 3 

'We're seventeen and nineteen,' I said. 

'What's th matter with you?' Tommy turned to me. 

That's all right.' 

'You can call me Alice,' the big whore said and then she 
began to shake again. 

'Is that your name?' Tommy asked. 

'Sure/ she said. 'Alice. Isn't it?' she turned to the man 
who sat by the cook. 

'Alice. That's right.' 

'That's the sort of name you'd have,' the cook said. 

'It's jmy real name,' Alice said. 

'What's the other girls' names?' Tom asked. 

'Hazel and Ethel,' Alice said. Hazel and Ethel smiled. 
They weren't very bright. 

'What's your name? 5 I said to one of the blondes. 

'Frances,' she said. 

'Frances what?' 

'Frances Wilson. What's it to you?' 

'What's yours?' I asked the other one. 

'Oh, don't be fresh,' she said. 

'He just wants us all to be friends,' the man who talked 
said. 'Don't you want to be friends?' 

'No,' the peroxide one said. 'Not with you.' 

'She's just a spitfire,' the man said. 'A regular little 

The one blonde looked at the other and shook her head. 

'Goddamned mossbacks,' she said. 

Alice commenced to laugh again and to shake all over. 

'There's nothing funny,' the cook said. 'You all laugh but 
there's nothing funny. You two young lads; where are you 
bound for?' 

'Where are you going yourself?' Tom asked him. 


'I want to go to Cadillac/ the cook said. 'Have you ever 
been there? My sister lives there.' 

'He's a sister himself/ the man in the stagged trousers said. 

'Can't you stop that sort of thing?' the cook asked. 'Can't 
we speak decently?' 

'Cadillac is where Steve Ketchel came from 'and where Ad 
Wolgast is from/ the shy man said. 

'Steve Ketchel/ one of the blondes said in a high voice as 
though the name had pulled a trigger on her. 'His own 
father shot and killed him. Yes, by Christ, his own father. 
There aren't any more men like Steve Ketchel.' 

'Wasn't his name Stanley Ketchel?' asked the cook. 

'Oh, shut up/ said the blonde. 'What do you know about 
Steve? Stanley. He was no Stanley. Steve Ketchel was the 
finest and most beautiful man that ever lived. I never saw a 
man as clean and as white and as beautiful as Steve Ketchel. 
There never was a man like that. He moved just like a tiger 
and he was the finest, free-est, spender that ever lived.' 

'Did you know him?' one of the men asked. 

'Did I know him? Did I know him? Did I love him? You 
ask me that? I knew him like you know nobody in the world 
and I loved him like you love God. He was the greatest, 
finest, whitest, most beautiful man that ever lived, Steve 
Ketchel, and his own father shot him down like a dog.' 

'Were you out on the coast with him?' 

'No. I knew him before that. He was the only man I ever 

Everyone was very respectful to the peroxide blonde, who 
said all this in a high stagey way, but Alice was beginning 
to shake again. I felt it sitting by her. 

'You should have married him/ the cook said. 

'I wouldn't hurt his career/ the peroxide blonde said. 'I 
wouldn't be a drawback to him. A wife wasn't what he 
needed. Oh, my God, what a man he was.' 

'That was a fine way to look at it/ the cook said. 'Didn't 
Jack Johnson knock him out though?' 


c lt was a trick/ Peroxide said. 'That big dinge took him 
by surprise. He'd just knocked Jack Johnson down, the big 
black bastard. That nigger beat him by a fluke.' 

The ticket window went up and the three Indians went 
over to it. 

'Steve knocked him down/ Peroxide said. 'He turned to 
smile at me.' 

'I thought you said you weren't on the coast/ someone said. 

6 1 went out just for that fight. Steve turned to smile at me 
and that black son of a bitch from hell jumped up and hit 
him by surprise. Steve could lick a hundred like that black 

'He was a great fighter/ the lumberjack said. 

'I hope to God he was/ Peroxide said. 'I hope to God they 
don't have fighters like that now. He was like a god, he was. 
So white and clean and beautiful and smooth and fast and 
like a tiger or like lightning.' 

'I saw him in the moving pictures of the fight/ Tom said. 
We were all very moved. Alice was shaking all over and I 
looked and saw she was crying. The Indians had gone 
outside on the platform. 

'He was more than any husband could ever be/ Peroxide 
said. 'We were married in the eyes of God and I belong to 
him right now and always will and all of me is his. I don't 
care about my body. They can take my body. My soul 
belongs to Steve Ketchel. By God, he was a man.' 

Everybody felt terribly. It was sad and embarrassing. 
Then Alice, who was still shaking, spoke, 'You're a dirty liar/ 
she said in that low voice. 'You never layed Steve Ketchel 
in your life and you know it. 3 

'How can you say that?' Peroxide said proudly. 

'I say it because it's true/ Alice said. Tm the only one 
here that ever knew Steve Ketchel and I come from Mance- 
lona and I knew him there and it's true and you know it's 
true and God can strike me dead if it isn't true.' 

'He can strike me too/ Peroxide said. 


'This is true, true, true, and you know it. Not just made 
up and I know exactly what he said to me.' 

'What did he say?' Peroxide asked, complacently. 

Alice was crying so she could hardly speak from shaking 
so. 'He said, "You're a lovely piece, Alice." That's exactly 
what he said.' 

'It's a lie,' Peroxide said. 

'It's true,' Alice said. 'That's truly what he said.' 

'It's a lie,' Peroxide said proudly. 

'No, it's true, true, true, to Jesus and Mary true.' 

'Steve couldn't have said that. It wasn't the way he 
talked,' Peroxide said happily. 

'It's true,' said Alice in her nice voice. 'And it doesn't 
make any difference to me whether you believe it or not/ 
She wasn't crying any more and she was calm. 

'It would be impossible for Steve to have said that,' 
Peroxide declared. 

'He said it,' Alice said and smiled. 'And I remember when 
he said it and I was a lovely piece then exactly as he said, and 
right now I'm a better piece than you, you dried up old 
hot- water bottle.' 

'You can't insult me,' said Peroxide. 'You big mountain 
of pus. I have my memories.' 

'No,' Alice said in that sweet lovely voice, 'you haven't got 
any real memories except having your tubes out and when 
you started C. and M. Everything else you just read in the 
papers. I'm clean and you know it, and men like me, even 
though I'm big, and you know it, and I never lie and you 
know it.' 

'Leave me with my memories,' Peroxide said. 'With my 
true, wonderful memories.' 

Alice looked at her and then at us and her face lost that 
hurt look and she smiled and she had about the prettiest face 
I ever saw. She had a pretty face and a nice smooth skin and 
a lovely voice and she was nice all right and really friendly. 
But my God she was big. She was as big as three women. 


Tom saw me looking at her and he said, 'Come on. Let's go/ 
'Good-bye,' said Alice. She certainly had a nice voice. 
'Good-bye/ I said. 

'Which way are you boys going?' asked the cook. 
'The other way from you,' Tom told him. 


IN those days the distances were all very different, the dirt 
blew off the hills that now have been cut down, and Kansas 
City was very like Constantinople. You may not believe this, 
No one believes this; but it is true. On this afternoon it was 
snowing and inside an automobile dealer's show window, 
lighted against the early dark, there was a racing motor car 
finished entirely in silver with Dans Argent lettered on the 
hood. This I believed to mean the silver dance or the silver 
dancer, and, slightly puzzled which it meant but happy in 
the sight of the car and pleased by my knowledge of a foreign 
language, I went along the street in the snow. I was walking 
from the Woolf Brothers' saloon where, on Christmas and 
Thanksgiving Day, a free turkey dinner was served, toward 
the city hospital which was on a high hill that overlooked the 
smoke, the buildings and the streets of the town. In the 
reception room of the hospital were the two ambulance 
surgeons, Doc Fischer and Doctor Wilcox, sitting, the one 
before a desk, the other in a chair against the wall. 

Doc Fischer was thin, sand-blond, with a thin mouth, 
amused eyes and gambler's hands. Doctor Wilcox was short, 
dark and carried an indexed book, The Young Doctor's Friend 
and Guide, which, being consulted on any given subject, told 
symptoms and treatment. It was also cross-indexed so that 
being consulted on symptoms it gave diagnoses. Doc Fischer 
had suggested that any future editions should be further 
cross-indexed so that if consulted as to the treatments being 
given, it would reveal ailments and symptoms. 'As an aid to 
memory,' he said. 

Doctor Wilcox was sensitive about this book but could not 
get along without it. It was bound in limp leather and fitted 
his coat pocket and he had bought it at the advice of one of 
his professors who had said, 'Wilcox, you have no business 



being a physician and I have done everything in my power 
to prevent you from being certified as one. Since you are 
now a member of this learned profession I advise you, in the 
name of humanity, to obtain a copy of The Young Doctor's 
Friend and Guide, and use it, Doctor Wilcox. Learn to use it.' 

Doctor Wilcox had said nothing but he had bought the 
leather-bound guide that same day. 

'Well, Horace/ Doc Fischer said as I came in the receiving 
room which smelt of cigarettes, iodoform, carbolic and an 
over-heated radiator. 

'Gentlemen/ I said. 

'What news along the rialto? 5 Doc Fischer asked. He 
affected a certain extravagance of speech which seemed to me 
to be of the utmost elegance. 

'The free turkey at WoolPs,' I answered. 

'You partook? 5 

'Copiously. 5 

'Many of the confreres present? 5 

'All of them. The whole staff. 5 

'Much Yuletide cheer? 5 

'Not much. 5 

'Doctor Wilcox here has partaken slightly, 5 Doc Fischer 
said. Doctor Wilcox looked up at him, then at me. 

'Want a drink? 5 he asked. 

'No, thanks, 5 I said. 

'That's all right, 5 Doctor Wilcox said. 

'Horace, 5 Doc Fischer said, 'you don't mind me calling you 
Horace, do you? 5 

'No. 5 

'Good old Horace. We've had an extremely interesting 
case. 5 

Til say/ said Doctor Wilcox. 

'You know the lad who was in here yesterday? 5 

'Which one? 5 

'The lad who sought eunuch-hood.' 

'Yes.' I had been there when he came in. He was a boy 


about sixteen. He came in with no hat on and was very 
excited and frightened but determined. He was curly haired 
and well built and his lips were prominent. 

'What's the matter with you, son?' Doctor Wilcox asked him. 

'I want to be castrated,' the boy said. 

'Why?' Doc Fischer asked. 

'I've prayed and I've done everything and nothing helps. 5 

'Helps what?' 

That awful lust. 5 

'What awful lust?' 

'The way I get. The way I can't stop getting. I pray all 
night about it.' 

'Just what happens?' Doc Fischer asked. 

The boy told him. 'Listen, boy,' Doc Fischer said. 'There's 
nothing wrong with you. That's the way you're supposed to 
be. There's nothing wrong with that.' 

'It is wrong,' said the boy. 'It's a sin against purity. It's 
a sin against our Lord and Saviour.' 

'No,' said Doc Fischer. 'It's a natural thing. It's the way 
you are supposed to be and later on you will think you are 
very fortunate.' 

'Oh, you don't understand,' the boy said. 

'Listen,' Doc Fischer said and he told the boy certain 

c No. I won't listen. You can't make me listen.' 

'Please listen,' Doc Fischer said. 

'You're just a goddamned fool,' Doctor Wilcox said to the 

'Then you won't do it?' the boy asked. 

'Do what? 5 

'Castrate me.' 

'Listen,' Doc Fischer said. 'No one will castrate you. 
There is nothing wrong with your body. You have a fine 
body and you must not think about that. If you are religious 
remember that what you complain of is no sinful state but 
the means of consummating a sacrament.' 


'I can't stop it happening,' the boy said. e l pray all night 
and I pray in the daytime. It is a sin, a constant sin against 

'Oh, go and ' Doctor Wilcox said. 

'When you talk like that I don't hear you, 5 the boy said 
with dignity to Doctor Wilcox. 'Won't you please do it?' he 
asked Doc Fischer. 

'No,' said Doc Fischer. Tve told you, boy.' 

'Get him out of here,' Doctor Wilcox said. 

Til get out,' the boy said. 'Don't touch me. I'll get out.' 

That was about five o'clock on the day before. 

'So what happened?' I asked. 

'So at one o'clock this morning,' Doc Fischer said, 'we 
receive the youth self-mutilated with a razor.' 


'No,' said Doc Fischer. 'He didn't know what castrate 

'He may die,' Doctor Wilcox said. 


'Loss of blood.' 

'The good physician here, Doctor Wilcox, my colleague, 
was on call and he was unable to find this emergency listed 
in his book.' 

'The hell with you talking that way,' Doctor Wilcox said. 

'I only mean it in the friendliest way, Doctor,' Doc Fischer 
said, looking at his hands, at his hands that had, with his 
willingness to oblige and his lack of respect for Federal 
statutes, made him his trouble. 'Horace here will bear me 
out that I only speak of it in the very friendliest way. It was 
an amputation the young man performed, Horace.' 

'Well, I wish you wouldn't ride me about it,' Doctor 
Wilcox said. 'There isn't any need to ride me.' 

'Ride you, Doctor, on the day, the very anniversary, of our 
Saviour's birth?' 

'Our Saviour? Ain't you a Jew?' Doctor WiJcox said. 

'So I am. So I am. It always is slipping my mind. I've 


never given it its proper importance. So good of you to 
remind me. Tour Saviour. That's right. Tour Saviour, un- 
doubtedly your Saviour and the ride for Palm Sunday. 5 

'You're too damned smart,' Doctor Wilcox said. 

'An excellent diagnosis, Doctor. I was always too damned 
smart. Too damned smart on the coast certainly. Avoid it, 
Horace. You haven't much tendency but sometimes I see a 
gleam. But what a diagnosis and without the book.' 

'The hell with you,' Doctor Wilcox said. 

'All in good time, Doctor,' Doc Fischer said. 'All in good 
time. If there is such a place I shall certainly visit it. I have 
even had a very small look into it. No more than a peek, 
really. I looked away almost at once. And do you know what 
the young man said, Horace, when the good Doctor here 
brought him in? He said, cc Oh, I asked you to do it. I asked 
you so many times to do it." ' 

'On Christmas Day, too,' Doctor Wilcox said. 

'The significance of the particular day is not important,' 
Doc Fischer said. 

'Maybe not to you,' said Doctor Wilcox. 

'You hear him,, Horace?' Doc Fischer said. 'You hear 
him? Having discovered my vulnerable point, my achilles 
tendon so to speak, the doctor pursues his advantage.' 

'You're too damned smart/ Doctor Wilcox said. 


'ALL right, 5 said the man. 'What about it?' 

'No,' said tne girl. 'I can't.' 

'You mean you won't.' 

'I can't,' said the girl. 'That's all that I mean.' 

'You mean that you won't.' 

'All right,' said the girl. 'You have it your own way/ 

'I don't have it my own way. I wish to God I did.' 

'You did for a long time,' the girl said. 

It was early, and there was no one in the cafe except the 
barman and these two who sat together at a table in the 
corner. It was the end of the summer and they were both 
tanned, so that they looked out of place in Paris. The girl 
wore a tweed suit, her skin was a smooth golden brown, her 
blonde hair was cut short and grew beautifully away from 
her forehead. The man looked at her. 

Til kill her,' he said. 

'Please don't,' the girl said. She had very fine hands and 
the man looked at them. They were slim and brown and 
very beautiful. 

'I will. I swear to God I will.' 

'It won't make you happy.' 

'Couldn't you have gotten into something else?' Couldn't 
you have gotten into some other jam?' 

'It seems not,' the girl said. 'What are you going to do 
about it?' 

'I told you.' 

'No; I mean really.' 

'I don't know,' he said. She looked at him and put out her 
hand. Toor old Phil/ she said. He looked at her hands, but 
he did not touch her hand with his. 

'No, thanks,' he said. 

'It doesn't do any good to say I'm sorry?' 

AA 369 



'Nor to tell you how it is?' 

'I'd rather not hear.' 

*I love you very much.' 

"Yes, this proves it.' 

'I'm sorry,' she said, 'if you don't understand.' 

'I understand. .That's the trouble. I understand.' 

'You do,' she said. 'That makes it worse, of course.' 

'Sure,' he said, looking at her. Til understand all the 
time. All day and all night. Especially all night. I'll 
understand. You don't have to worry about that.' 

'I'm sorry,' she said. 

'If it was a man ' 

'Don't say that. It wouldn't be a man. You know that. 
Don't you trust me?' 

'That's funny,' he said. 'Trust you. That's really funny.' 

'I'm sorry,' she said. 'That's all I seem to say. But when 
we do understand each other there's no use to pretend we 

'No,' he said. 'I suppose not.' 

'I'll come back if you want me.' 

'No. I don't want you.' 

Then they did not say anything for a while. 

'You don't believe I love you, do you?' the girl asked. 

'Let's not talk rot,' the man said. 

'Don't you really believe I love you?' 

'Why don't you prove it?' 

'You didn't use to be that way. You never asked me to 
prove anything. That isn't polite.' 

'You're a funny girl.' 

'You're not. You're a fine man and it breaks my heart to 
go off and leave you ' 

'You have to, of course.' 

'Yes/ she said. 'I have to and you know it.' 

He did not say anything and she looked at him and put 
her hand out again. The barman was at the far end of the 


bar. His face was white and so was his jacket. He knew these 
two and thought them a handsome young couple. He had 
seen many handsome young couples break up and new couples 
form that were never so handsome long. He was not thinking 
about this, but % about a horse. In half an hour he could send 
across the street to find if the horse had won. 

'Couldn't you just be good to me and let me go? 5 the girl 

'What do you think I'm going to do? 5 

Two people came in the door and went up to the bar. 

'Yes, sir,' the barman took the orders. 

'You can't forgive me? When you know about it? 5 the girl 


'You don't think things we've had and done should make 
any difference in understanding?' 

' "Vice is a monster of such fearful mien," ' the young man 
said bitterly, 'that to be something or other needs but to be 
seen. Then we something, something, then embrace.' He 
could not remember the words. 'I can't quote,' he said. 

'Let's not say vice,' she said. 'That's not very polite. 5 

'Perversion,' he said. 

'James,' one of the clients addressed the barman, 'you're 
looking very well.' 

'You're looking very well yourself,' the barman said. 

'Old James,' the other client said. 'You're fatter, James.' 

'It's terrible,' the barman said, 'the way I put it on.' 

'Don't neglect to insert the brandy, James,' the first client 

'No, sir,' said the barman. 'Trust me.' 

The two at the bar looked over at the two at the table, 
then looked back at the barman again. Towards the barman 
was the comfortable direction. 

Td like it better if you didn't use words like that,' the girl 
said. 'There's no necessity to use a word like that.' 

'What do you want me to call it? 5 


'You don't have to call it. You don't have to put any 
name to it.' 

'That's the name for it.' 

'No,' she said. 'We're made up of all sorts of things. 
You've known that. You've used it well enough.' 

'You don't have to say that again.' 

'Because that explains it to you.' 

'All right/ he said. 'All right.' 

'You mean all wrong. I know. It's all wrong. But I'll come 
back. I told you I'd come back. I'll come back right away/ 

'No, you won't.' 

Til come back.' 

'No, you won't. Not to me.' 

'You'll see.' 

'Yes,' he said. 'That's the hell of it. You probably will/ 

'Of course I will.' 

'Go on, then.' 

'Really?' She could not believe him, but her voice was 

'Go on,' his voice sounded strange to him. He was looking 
at her, at the way her mouth went and the curve of her cheek- 
bones, at her eyes and at the way her hair grew on her fore- 
head and at the edge of her ear and at her neck. 

'Not really. Oh, you're too sweet,' she said. 'You're too 
good to me.' 

'And when you come back tell me all about it.' His voice 
sounded very strange. He did not recognize it. She looked 
at him quickly. He was settled into something. 

'You want me to go?' she asked seriously. 

'Yes,' he said seriously. 'Right away.' His voice was not 
the same, and his mouth was very dry. 'Now,' he said. 

She stood up and went out quickly. She did not look back 
at him. He watched her go. He was not the same-looking 
man as he had been before he had told her to go. He got up 
from the table, picked up the two checks and went over to 
the bar with them. 


Tm a different man, James,' he said to the barman. 
"You see in me quite a different man.' 

'Yes, sir?' said James. 

'Vice,' said the brown young man, 'is a very strange thing, 
James.' He loqked out the door. He saw her going down the 
street. As he looked in the glass, he saw he was really quite a 
different-looking man. The other two at the bar moved down 
to make room for him. 

'You're right there, sir,' James said. 

The other two moved down a little more, so that he would 
be quite comfortable. The young man saw himself in the 
mirror behind the bar. 'I said I was a different man, James,' 
he said. Looking into the mirror he saw that this was quite 

'You look very well, sir,' James said. 'You must have had 
a very good summer.' 


THE attack had gone across the field, been held up by 
machine-gun fire from the sunken road and from the group 
of farm houses, encountered no resistance in the town, and 
reached the bank of the river. Coming along the road on a 
bicycle, getting off to push the machine when the surface of 
the road became too broken, Nicholas Adams saw what had 
happened by the position of the dead. 

They lay alone or in clumps in the high grass of the fields 
and along the road, their pockets out, and over them were 
flies and around each body or group of bodies were the 
scattered papers. 

In the grass and the grain, beside the road, and in some 
places scattered over the road, there was much material: a 
field kitchen, it must have come over when things were going 
well; many of the calf-skin-covered haversacks, stick bombs, 
helmets, rifles, sometimes one butt-up, the bayonets stuck in 
the dirt, they had dug quite a little at the last; stick bombs, 
helmets, rifles, entrenching tools, ammunition boxes, star- 
shell pistols, their shells scattered about, medical kits, gas 
masks, empty gas mask cans, a squat, tripodded machine- 
gun in a nest of empty shells, full belts protruding from the 
boxes, the water-cooling can empty and on its side, the breech 
block gone, the crew in odd positions, and around them, in 
the grass, more of the typical papers. 

There were mass prayer books, group postcards showing the 
machine-gun unit standing in ranked and ruddy cheerfulness 
as in a football picture for a college annual; now they were 
humped and swollen in the grass; propaganda postcards 
showing a soldier in Austrian uniform bending a woman 
backward over a bed; the figures were impressionistically 
drawn; very attractively depicted and had nothing in com- 
mon with actual rape in which the woman's skirts are pulled 



over her head to smother her, one comrade sometimes sitting 
upon the head. There were many of these inciting cards 
which had evidently been issued just before the offensive. 
Now they were scattered with the smutty postcards, photo- 
graphic; the small photographs of village girls by village 
photographers, the occasional pictures of children, and the 
letters, letters, letters. There was always much paper about 
the dead and the debris of this attack was no exception. 

These were new dead and no one had bothered with any- 
thing but their pockets. Our own dead, or what he thought 
of, still as our own dead, were surprisingly few, Nick noticed. 
Their coats had been opened too and their pockets were out, 
and they showed, by their positions, the manner and the 
skill of the attack. The hot weather had swollen them all 
alike regardless of nationality. 

The town had evidently been defended, at the last, from 
the line of the sunken road and there had been few or no 
Austrians to fall back into it. There were only three bodies 
in the street and they looked to have been killed running. 
The houses of the town were broken by the shelling and the 
street had much rubble of plaster and mortar and there were 
broken beams, broken tiles, and many holes, some of them 
yellow-edged from the mustard gas. There were many pieces 
of shell, and shrapnel balls were scattered in the rubble. 
There was no one in the town at all. 

Nick Adams had seen no one since he had left Fornaci, 
although, riding along the road .through the over-foliaged 
country, he had seen guns hidden under screens of mulberry 
leaves to the left of the road, noticing them by the heat-waves 
in the air above the leaves where the sun hit the metal. Now 
he went on through the town, surprised to find it deserted, 
and came out on the low road beneath the bank of the river. 
Leaving the town there was a bare open space where the road 
slanted down and he could see the placid reach of the river 
and the low curve of the opposite bank and the whitened,, 
sun-baked mud where the Austrians had dug. It was all 


very lush and evergreen since he had seen it last and becom- 
ing historical had made no change in this, the lower river. 

The battalion was along the bank to the left. There was a 
series of holes in the top of the bank with a few men in them. 
Nick noticed where the machine-guns were posted and the 
signal rockets in their racks. The men in the holes in the side 
of the bank were sleeping. No one challenged. He went on 
and as he came around a turn in the mud bank a young 
second lieutentant with a stubble of beard and red-rimmed, 
very bloodshot eyes pointed a pistol at him. 

'Who are you?' 

Nick told him. 

'How do I know this?' 

Nick showed him the tessera with photograph and identi- 
fication and the seal of the third army. He took hold of it. 

'I will keep this.' 

'You will not,' Nick said. 'Give me back the card and put 
your gun away. There. In the holster.' 

'How am I to know who you are?' 

'The tessera tells you.' 

'And if the tessera is false? Give me that card. 5 

'Don't be a fool,' Nick said cheerfully. 'Take me to your 
company commander.' 

'I should send you to battalion headquarters.' 

'All right,' said Nick. 'Listen, do you know the Captain 
Paravicini? The tall one with the small moustache who was 
an architect and speaks English?' 

'You know him?' 

'A little.' 

'What company does he command?' 

'The second. 5 

'He is commanding the battalion.' 

'Good,' said Nick. He was relieved to know that Para was 
all right. 'Let us go to the battalion.' 

As Nick had left the edge of the town three shrapnel had 
burst high and to the right over one of the wrecked houses 


and since then there had been no shelling. But the face of 
this officer looked like the face of a man during a bombard- 
ment. There was the same tightness and the voice did not 
sound natural. His pistol made Nick nervous. 

Tut it away, 5 he said. 'There's the whole river between 
them and you.' 

4 If I thought you were a spy I would shoot you now/ the 
second lieutenant said. 

'Come on,' said Nick. 'Let us go to the battalion.' This 
officer made him very nervous. 

The Captain Paravicini, acting major, thinner and more 
English-looking than ever, rose when Nick saluted from 
behind the table in the dugout that was battalion head- 

'Hello,' he said. 'I didn't know you. What are you doing 
in that uniform?' 

'They've put me in it.' 

'I am very glad to see you, Nicolo.' 

'Right. You look well. How was the show?' 

'We made a very fine attack. Truly. A very fine attack. 
I will show you. Look.' 

He showed on the map how the attack had gone. 

T came from Fornaci,' Nick said. 'I could see how it had 
been. It was very good.' 

'It was extraordinary. Altogether extraordinary. Are you 
attached to the regiment?' 

'No. I am supposed to move around and let them see the 

'How odd.' 

'If they see one American uniform that is supposed to make 
them believe others are coming.' 

'But how will they know it is an American uniform?' 

'You will tell them.' 

'Oh. Yes, I see. I will send a corporal with you to show 
you about and you will make a tour of the lines. 5 

'Like a bloody politician/ Nick said. 


'You would be much more distinguished in civilian clothes. 
They are what is really distinguished.' 

'With a homburg hat,' said Nick. 

'Or with a very furry fedora.' 

Tm supposed to have my pockets full of cigarettes and 
postal cards and such things/ Nick said. 'I should have a 
musette full of chocolate. These I should distribute with a 
kind word and a pat on the back. But there weren't any 
cigarettes and postcards and no chocolate. So they said to 
circulate around anyway.' 

Tm sure your appearance will be very heartening to the 

'I wish you wouldn't,' Nick said. 'I feel badly enough 
about it as it is. In principle, I would have brought you a 
bottle of brandy. 5 

'In principle,' Para said and smiled, for the first time, 
showing yellowed teeth. 'Such a beautiful expression. Would 
you like some Grappa?' 

'No, thank you,' Nick said. 

'It hasn't any ether in it.' 

'I can taste that still/ Nick remembered suddenly and 

'You know I never knew you were drunk until you started 
talking coming back in the camions.' 

'I was stinking in every attack/ Nick said. 

'I can't do it/ Para said. 'I took it in the first show, the 
very first show, and it only made me very upset and then 
frightfully thirsty.' 

'You don't need it.' 

'You're much braver in an attack than I am.' 

'No/ Nick said. 'I know how I am and I prefer to get 
stinking. I'm not ashamed of it.' 

'I've never seen you drunk.' 

'No?' said Nick. 'Never? Not when we rode from Mestre 
to Portogrande that night and I wanted to go to sleep and 
used the bicycle for a blanket and pulled it up under my chin?' 


'That wasn't in the lines. 5 

'Let's not talk about how I am/ Nick said. 'It's a subject 
I know too much about to want to think about it any more/ 

'You might as well stay here a while/ Paravicini said. 
'You can take a nap if you like. They didn't do much to this 
in the bombardment. It's too hot to go out yet.' 

C I suppose there is no hurry. 5 

'How are you really? 5 

'I'm fine. I'm perfectly all right. 5 

'No. I mean really. 5 

Tm all right. I can't sleep without a light of some sort. 
That's all I have now. 5 

'I said it should have been trepanned. I'm no doctor but 
I know that. 5 

'Well, they thought it was better to have it absorb, and 
that's what I got. What's the matter? I don't seem crazy to 
you, do I? 5 

'You seem in top-hole shape. 5 

'It's a hell of a nuisance once they've had you certified as 
nutty/ Nick said. 'No one ever has any confidence in you 

'I would take a nap, Nicolo/ Paravicini said. 'This isn't 
battalion headquarters as we used to know it. We're just 
waiting to be pulled out. You oughtn't to go out in the heat 
now it's silly. Use that bunk. 5 

'I might just lie down/ Nick said. 

Nick lay on the bunk. He was very disappointed that he 
felt this way and more disappointed, even, that it was so 
obvious to Captain Paravicini. This was not as large -a dug- 
out as the one where that platoon of the class of 1899, just 
out at the front, got hysterics during the bombardment 
before the attack, and Para had had him walk them two at 
a time outside to show them nothing would happen, he 
wearing his own chin strap tight across his mouth to keep his 
lips quiet. Knowing they could not hold it when they took 
it. Knowing it was all a bloody bells If he can 5 t stop cry- 


ing, break his nose to give him something else to think about. 
I'd shoot one but it's too late now. They'd all be worse. 
Break his nose. They've put it back to five-twenty. We've 
only got four minutes more. Break that other silly bugger's 
nose and kick his silly ass out of here. Do you think they'll 
go over? If they don't, shoot two and try to scoop the others 
out some way. Keep behind them, sergeant. It's no use to 
walk ahead and find there's nothing coming behind you. 
Bail them out as you go. What a bloody bells. All right. 
That's right. Then, looking at the watch, in that quiet tone, 
that valuable quiet tone, 'Sovoia'. Making it cold, no time 
to get it, he couldn't find his own after the cave-in, one 
whole end had caved in; it was that started them; making it 
cold up that slope the only time he hadn't done it stinking. 
And after they came back the teleferica house burned, it 
seemed, and some of the wounded got down four days later 
and some did not get down, but we went up and we went 
back and we came down we always came down. And 
there was Gaby Deslys, oddly enough, with feathers on; you 
called me baby doll a year ago tadada you said that I was 
rather nice to know tadada with feathers on, with feathers 
off, the great Gaby, and my name's Harry Piker, too, we 
used to step out of the far side of the taxis when it got steep 
going up the hill and he could see that hill every night when 
he dreamed with Sacre Coeur, blown white, like a soap 
bubble. Sometimes his girl was there and sometimes she was 
with someone else and he could not understand that, but 
those were the nights the river ran so much wider and stiller 
than it should and outside of Fossalta there was a low house 
painted yellow with willows all around it and a low stable 
and there was a canal, and he had been there a thousand 
times and never seen it, but there it was every night as plain 
as the hill, only it frightened him. That house meant more 
than anything and every night he had it. That was what he 
needed but it frightened him especially when the boat lay 
there quietly in the willows on the canal, but the banks 


weren't like this river. It was all lower, as it was at Porto- 
grande, where they had seen them come wallowing across the 
flooded ground holding the rifles high until they fell with 
them in the water. Who ordered that one? If it didn't get 
so damned mixed up he could follow it all right. That was 
why he noticed everything in such detail to keep it all 
straight so he would know just where he was, but suddenly 
it confused without reason as now, he lying in a bunk at 
battalion headquarters, with Para commanding a battalion 
and he in a bloody American uniform. He sat up and looked 
around; they all watching him. Para was gone out. He lay 
down again. 

The Paris part came earlier and he was not frightened of it 
except when she had gone off with someone else and the fear- 
that they might take the same driver twice. That was what 
frightened about that. Never about the front. He never 
dreamed about the front now any more but what frightened 
him so that he could not get rid of it was that long yellow 
house and the different width of the river. Now he was back 
here at the river, he had gone through that same town, and 
there was no house. Nor was the river that way. Then where 
did he go each night and what was the peril, and why would 
he wake, soaking wet, more frightened than he had ever been 
in a bombardment, because of a house and a long stable and 
a canal? 

He sat up, swung his legs carefully down; they stiffened 
any time they were out straight for long; returned the stares 
of the adjutant, the signallers and the two runners by the 
door and put on his cloth-covered trench helmet. 

'I regret the absence of the chocolate, the postal-cards and 
cigarettes,' he said. 'I am, however, wearing the uniform.' 

'The Major is coming back at once,' the adjutant said. In 
that army an adjutant is not a commissioned officer. 

The uniform is not very correct,' Nick told them. 'But it 
gives you the idea. There will be several millions of Ameri- 
cans here shortly.' 


'Do you think they will send Americans down here?' asked 
the adjutant. 

'Oh, absolutely. Americans twice as large as myself, 
healthy, with clean hearts, sleep at night, never been 
wounded, never been blown up, never had their heads caved 
in, never been scared, don't drink, faithful to the girls they 
left behind them, many of them never had crabs, wonderful 
chaps. You'll see.' 

'Are you an Italian?' asked the adjutant. 

'No, American. Look at the uniform. Spagnolini made it 
but it's not quite correct.' 

'A North or South American?' 

'North,' said Nick. He felt it coming on now. He would 
quiet down. 

'But you speak Italian.' 

'Why not? Do you mind if I speak Italian? Haven't I a 
right to speak Italian? 

'You have Italian medals. 

'Just the ribbons and the papers. The medals come later. 
Or you give them to people to keep and the people go away; 
or they are lost with your baggage. You can purchase others 
in Milan. It is the papers that are of importance. You must 
not feel badly about them. You will have some yourself if 
you stay at the front long enough.' 

'I am a veteran of the Iritrea campaign,' said the adjutant 
stiffly. 'I fought in Tripoli.' 

'It's quite something to have met you,' Nick put out his 
hand. 'Those must have been trying days. I noticed the 
ribbons. Were you, by any chance, on the Garso?' 

'I have just been called up for this war. My class was too old'. 

'At one time I was under the age limit,' Nick said. 'But 
now I am reformed out of the war. 5 

'But why are you here now?' 

'I am demonstrating the American uniform/ Nick said. 
'Don't you think it is very significant? It is a little tight in 
the collar but soon you will see untold millions wearing this 


uniform swarming like locusts. The grasshopper, you know, 
what we call the grasshopper in America, is really a locust. 
The true grasshopper is small and green and comparatively 
feeble. You must not, however, make a confusion with the 
seven-year locust or cicada which emits a peculiar sustained 
sound which at the moment I cannot recall. I try to recall it 
but I cannot. I can almost hear it and then it is quite gone. 
You will pardon me if I break off our conversation?' 

'See if you can find the major,' the adjutant said to one of 
the two runners. C I can see you have been wounded,' he said 
to Nick. 

c ln various places,' Nick said. 'If you are interested in scars 
I can show you some very interesting ones but I would rather 
talk about grasshoppers. What we call grasshoppers that is; 
and what are, really, locusts. These insects at one time played 
a very important part in my life. It might interest you and 
you can look at the uniform while I am talking.' 

The adjutant made a motion with his hand to the second 
runner who went out. 

'Fix your eyes on the uniform. Spagnolini made it, you 
know. You might as well look, too/ Nick said to the sig- 
nallers. I really have no rank. We're under the American 
consul. It's perfectly all right for you to look. You can stare, 
if you like. I will tell you about the American locust. We 
always preferred one that we called the medium-brown. 
They last the best in the water and fish prefer them. The 
larger ones that fly making a noise somewhat similar to that 
produced by a rattlesnake rattling his rattlers, a very dry 
sound, have vivid coloured wings, some are bright red, others 
yellow barred with black, but their wings go to pieces in the 
water and they make a very blowsy bait, while the medium- 
brown is a plump, compact, succulent hopper that I can 
recommend as far as one may well recommend something 
you gentlemen will probably never encounter. But I must 
insist that you will never gather a sufficient supply of these 
insects for a day's fishing by pursuing them with your hands 


or trying to hit them with a bat. That is sheer nonsense and 
a useless waste of time. I repeat, gentlemen, that you will 
get nowhere at it. The correct procedure, and one which 
should be taught all young officers at every small-arms course 
if I had anything to say about it, and who knows but what I 
will have, is the employment of a seine or net made of com- 
mon mosquito netting. Two officers holding this length of 
netting at alternate ends, or let us say one at each end, stoop, 
hold the bottom extremity of the net in one hand and the 
top extremity in the othei; and run into the wind. The 
hoppers, flying with the wind, fly against the length of 
netting and are imprisoned in its folds. It is no trick at all 
to catch a very great quantity indeed, and no officer, in my 
opinion, should be without a length of mosquito netting 
suitable for the improvisation of one of these grasshopper 
seines. I hope I have made myself clear, gentlemen. Are 
there any questions? If there is anything in the course you 
do not understand please ask questions. Speak up. None? 
Then I would like to close on this note. In the words of that 
great soldier and gentleman, Sir Henry Wilson: Gentlemen, 
either you must govern or you must be governed. Let me 
repeat it. Gentlemen, there is one thing I would like to have 
you remember. One thing I would like you to take with you 
as you leave this room. Gentlemen, either you must govern 
or you must be governed. That is all, gentlemen. Good-day/ 

He removed his cloth-covered helmet, put it on again and, 
stooping, went out the low entrance of the dugout. Para, 
accompanied by the two runners, was coming down the line 
of the sunken road. It was very hot in the sun and Nick 
removed the helmet. 

'There ought to be a system for wetting these things,' he 
said. 'I shall wet this one in the river.' He started up the bank. 

'Nicolo,' Paravicini called. 'Nicolo. Where are you going?' 

*I don't really have to go.' Nick came down the slope, 
holding the helmet in his hands. They're a damned nuisance 
wet or dry. Do you wear yours all the time?' 


'All the time,' said Para. 'It's making me bald. Come 

Inside Para told him to sit down. 

'You know they're absolutely no damned good/ Nick said. 
'I remember when they were a comfort when we first had 
them, but I've seen them full of brains too many times. 5 

'Nicolo/ Para said. 'I think you should go back. I think 
it would be better if you didn't come up to the line until you 
had those supplies. There's nothing here for you to do. If 
you move around, even with something worth giving away, 
the men will group and that invites shelling. I won't have it/ 

e l know it's silly,' Nick said. 'It wasn't my idea. I heard 
the brigade was here so I thought I would see you or someone 
else I knew. I could have gone to Zenzon or to San Dona. 
I'd like to go to San Dona to see the bridge again.' 

'I won't have you circulating around to no purpose/ 
Captain Paravicini said. 

'All right,' said Nick. He felt it coming on again. 

'You understand?' 

'Of course,' said Nick. He was trying to hold it in. 

'Anything of that sort should be done at night.' 

'Naturally,' said Nick. He knew he could not stop it now. 

'You see, I am commanding the battalion/ Para said. 

'And why shouldn't you be?' Nick said. Here it came. 
'You can read and write, can't you?' 

'Yes/ said Para gently. 

'The trouble is you have a damned small battalion to com- 
mand. As soon as it gets to strength again they'll give you 
back your company. Why don't they bury the dead? I've 
seen them now. I don't care about seeing them again. 
They can bury them any time as far as I'm concerned and 
it would be much better for you. You'll all get bloody sick.' 

'Where did you leave your bicycle?' 

'Inside the last house. 5 

'Do you think it will be all right? 5 

'Don't worry/ Nick said. 'I'll go in a little while. 5 



'Lie down a little while, Nicolo.' 

'All right.' 

He shut his eyes, and in place of the man with the beard 
who looked at him over the sights of the rifle, quite calmly 
before squeezing off, the white flash and dublike impact, 
on his knees, hot-sweet choking, coughing it on to the rock 
while they went past him, he saw a long, yellow house with 
a low stable and the river much wider than it was and stiller. 
'Christ/ he said, 'I might as well go.' 

He stood up. 

Tm going, Para,' he said. Til ride back now in the after- 
noon. If any supplies have come I'll bring them down 
to-night. If not I'll come at night when I have something to 

'It is still hot to ride,' Captain Paravicini said. 

'You don't need to worry,' Nick said. 'I'm all right now for 
quite a while. I had one then but it was easy; They're 
getting much better. I can tell when I'm going to have one 
because I talk so much.' 

Til send a runner with you.' 

Td rather you didn't. I know the way.' 

'You'll be back soon?' 


'Let me send ' 

'No,' said Nick. 'As a mark of confidence.' 

'Well, Ciaou then.' 

'Ciaou,' said Nick. He started back along the sunken road 
toward where he had left the bicycle. In the afternoon the 
road would be shady once he had passed the canal. Beyond 
that there were trees on both sides that had not been shelled 
at all. It was on that stretch that, marching, they had once 
passed the Terza Savoia cavalry regiment riding in the snow 
with their lances. The horses' breath made plumes in the 
cold air. No, that was somewhere else. Where was that? 

Td better get to that damned bicycle,' Nick said to him- 
self. *I don't want to lose the way to Fornaci.' 


WHEN his father died he was only a kid and his manager 
buried him perpetually. That is, so he would have the plot 
permanently. But when his mother died his manager thought 
they might not always be so hot on each other. They were 
sweethearts; sure he's a queen, didn't you know that, of 
course he is. So he just buried her for five years. 

Well, when he came back to Mexico from Spain he got the 
first notice. It said it was the first notice that the five years 
were up and would he make arrangements for the continuing 
of his mother's grave. It was only twenty dollars for per- 
petual. I had the cash box then and I said let me attend to 
it, Paco. But he said no, he would look after it. He'd look 
after it right away. It was his mother and he wanted to do 
it himself. 

Then in a week he got the second notice. I read it to him 
and I said I thought he had looked after it. 

No, he said, he hadn't. 

'Let me do it,' I said. 'It's right here in the cash box.' 

No, he said. Nobody could tell him what to do. He'd do 
it himself when he got around to it. 'What's the sense in 
spending money sooner than necessary?' 

'All right,' I said, 'but see you look after it.' At this time he 
had a contract for six fights at four thousand pesos a fight 
besides his benefit fight. He made over fifteen thousand 
dollars there in the capital alone. He was just tight, that's all. 

The third notice came in another week and I read it to 
him. It said that if he did not make the payment by the 
following Saturday his mother's grave would be opened and 
her remains dumped on the common boneheap. He said he 
would go attend to it that afternoon when he went to town. 

'Why not have me do it? 5 I asked him. 

'Keep out of my business,' he said. 'It's my business and 
I'm going to do it.' 



'All right, if that's the way you feel about it,' I said. 'Do 
your own business.' 

He got the money out of the cash box, although then he 
always carried a hundred or more pesos with him all the 
time, and he said he would look after it. Hq, went out with 
the money and so of course I thought he had attended to it. 

A week later the notice came that they had no response to 
the final warning and so his mother's body had been dumped 
on the boneheap; on the public boneheap. 

'Jesus Christ/ I said to him, 'you said you'd pay that 
and you took money out of the cash box to do it and now 
what's happened to your mother? My God, think of it! 
The public boneheap and your own mother. Why didn't 
you let me look after it? I would have sent it when the first 
notice came.' 

'It's none of your business. It's my mother. 3 

'It's none of my business, yes, but it was jour business. What 
kind of blood is it in a man that will let that be done to his 
mother? You don't deserve to have a mother.' 

'It is my mother,' he said. 'Now she is so much dearer to 
me. Now I don't have to think of her buried in one place 
and be sad. Now she is all about me in the air, like the birds 
and the flowers. Now she will always be with me.' 

'Jesus Christ/ I said, 'what kind of blood have you any- 
way? I don't want you even to speak to me.' 

'She is all around me,' he said. 'Now I will never be sad.' 

At that time he was spending all kinds of money around 
women trying to make himself seem a man and fool people, 
but it didn't have any effect on people that knew anything 
about him. He owed me over six hundred pesos and he 
wouldn't pay me. 'Why do you want it now?' he'd say. 
'Don't you trust me? Aren't we friends?' 

'It isn't friends or trusting you. It's that I paid the 
accounts out of my own money while you were away and now 
I need the money back and you have it to pay me. 3 

'I haven't got it.' 


'You have it,' I said. 'It's in the cash box now and you can 
pay me.' 

'I need that money for something,' he said. 'You don't 
know all the needs I have for money.' 

'I stayed here all the time you were in Spain and you 
authorized me to pay these things as they came up, all these 
things of the house, and you didn't send any money while you 
were gone and I paid over six hundred pesos in my own 
money and now I need it and you can pay me.' 

Til pay you soon,' he said. 'Right now I need the money 

'For what?' 

'For my own business.' 

'Why don't you pay me some on account?' 

'I can't,' he said. 'I need that money too badly. But I will 
pay you/ 

He had only fought twice in Spain, they couldn't stand him 
there, they saw through him quick enough, and he had seven 
new fighting suits made and this is the kind of thing he was: 
he had them packed so badly that four of them were ruined 
by sea water on the trip back and he couldn't even wear them. 

'My God,' I said to him, 'you go to Spain. You stay there 
the whole season and only fight two times. You spend all the 
money you took with you on suits and then have them 
spoiled by salt water so you can't wear them. That is the 
kind of season you have and then you talk to me about 
running your own business. Why don't you pay me the 
money you owe me so I can leave?' 

'I want you here,' he said, 'and I will pay you. But now I 
need the money.' 

'You need it too badly to pay for your own mother's 
grave to keep your mother buried. Don't you?' I said. 

'I am happy about what has happened to my mother,' he 
said. 'You cannot understand.' 

'Thank Christ I can't,' I said. 'You pay me what you owe 
me or I will take it out of the cash box.' 


'I will keep the cash box myself/ he said. 

'No, you won't/ I said 

That very afternoon he came to me with a punk, some 
fellow from his own town who was broke, and said, 'Here is 
a paesano who needs money to go home because his mother 
is very sick.' This fellow was just a punk, you understand, a 
nobody he'd never seen before, but from his home town, and 
he wanted to be the big, generous matador with a fellow 

'Give him fifty pesos from the cash box,' he told me. 

'You just told me you had no money to pay me,' I said. 
'And now you want to give fifty pesos to this punk.' 

'He is a fellow townsman,' he said, 'and he is in distress.' 

'You bitch,' I said. I gave him the key of the cash box. 
'Get it yourself. I'm going to town.' 

'Don't be angry,' he said. 'I'm going to pay you.' 

I got the car out to go to town. It was his car but he knew 
I drove it better than he did. Everything he did I could do 
better. He knew it. He couldn't even read and write. I was 
going to see somebody and see what I could do about 
making him pay me. He came out and said, 'I'm coming 
with you and I'm going to pay you. We are good friends. 
There is no need to quarrel.' 

We drove into the city and I was driving. Just before we 
came into the town he pulled out twenty pesos. 

'Here's the money,' he said. 

'You motherless bitch/ I said to him and told him what he 
could do with the money. 'You give fifty pesos to that punk 
and then offer me twenty when you owe me six hundred. I 
wouldn't take a nickel from you. You know what you can do 
with it.' 

I got out of the car without a peso in my pocket and I 
didn't know where I was going to sleep that night. Later I 
went out with a friend and got my things from his place. I 
never spoke to him again until this year. I met him walking 
with three friends in the evening on the way to the Callao 


cinema in the Gran Via in Madrid. He put his hand out 
to me. 

'Hello, Roger, old friend,' he said to me. 'How are you? 
People say you are talking against me. That you say all sorts 
of unjust tilings about me.' 

'All I say is you never had a mother,' I said to him. That's 
the worst thing you can say to insult a man in Spanish. 

'That's true,' he said. 'My poor mother died when I was so 
young it seems as though I never had a mother. 'It's very 

There's a queen for you. You can't touch them. Nothing, 
nothing can touch them. They spend money on themselves 
or for vanity, but they never pay. Try to get one to pay. 
I told him what I thought of him right there on the Gran 
Via, in front of three friends, but he speaks to me now when 
I meet him as though we were friends. What kind of blood 
is it that makes a man like that? 


SHE sat at the table in her bedroom with a newspaper folded 
open before her and only stopping to look out of the window 
at the snow which was falling and melting on the roofs as it 
fell. She wrote this letter, writing it steadily with no necessity 
to cross out or rewrite anything. 

Roanoke, Virginia 

February 6th, 1933 
Dear Doctor, 

May I write you for some very important advice I have 
a decision to make and don't know just whom to trust most, 
I dare not ask my parents and so I come to you and only 
because I need not see you, can I confide in you even. Now 
here is the situation I married a man in U.S. service in 
1929 and that same year he was sent to China, Shanghai 
he stayed three years and came home he was dis- 
charged from the service some few months ago and went 
to his mother's home in Helena, Arkansas. He wrote for me 
to come home - 1 went, and found he is taking a course of in- 
jections and I naturally ask, and found he is being treated for 
I don't know how to spell the word but it sounds like this 
'sifilus' Do you know what I mean now tell me will it 
ever be safe for me to live with him again I did not come 
in Close contact with him at any time since his return from 
China. He assures me he will be OK after this doctor finishes 
with him Do you think it right I often heard my Father 
say one could well wish themselves dead if once they became 
a victim of that malady I believe my Father but want to 
believe my Husband most Please, please tell me what to 
do -I have a daughter born while her Father was in China 

Thanking you and trusting wholly in your advice I am 

and signed her name. 



Maybe he can tell me what's right to do, she said to herself. 
Maybe he can tell me. In the picture in the paper he looks 
like he'd know. He looks smart, all right. Every day he tells 
somebody what to do. He ought to know. I want to do 
whatever is right. It's such a long time though. It's a long 
time. And it's been a long time. My Christ, it's been a long 
time. He had to go wherever they sent him, I know, but 
I don't know what he had to get it for. Oh, I wish to Christ 
he wouldn't have got it/ I don't care what he did to get it. 
But I wish to Christ he hadn't ever got it. It does seem like 
he didn't have to have got it. I don't know what to do. I 
wish to Christ he hadn't got any kind of malady. I don't know 
why he had to get a malady. 



INSIDE the station cafe it was warm and light. The wood of 
the tables shone from wiping and there were baskets of 
pretzels in glazed paper sacks. The chairs were carved, but 
the seats were worn and comfortable. There was a carved 
wooden clock on the wall and a bar at the far end of the room. 
Outside the window it was snowing. 

Two of the station porters sat drinking new wine at the 
table under the clock. Another porter came in and said the 
Simplon-Orient Express was an hour late at Saint-Maurice. 
He went out. The waitress came over to Mr. Wheeler's 

'The Express is an hour late, sir/ she said. 'Can I bring 
you some coffee?' 

'If you think it won't keep me awake.' 

'Please?' asked the waitress. 

'Bring me some/ said Mr. Wheeler. 

'Thank you.' 

She brought the coffee from the kitchen and Mr. Wheeler 
looked out the window at the snow falling in the light from 
the station platform. 

'Do you speak other languages besides English?' he asked 
the waitress. 

'Oh, yes, sir. I speak German and French and the 

'Would you like a drink of something?' 

'Oh, no, sir. It is not permitted to drink in the cafe with 
the clients.' 

'You won't take a cigar?' 

'Oh, no, sir. I don't smoke, sir.' 



'That is all right/ said Mr. Wheeler. He looked out of the 
window again, drank the coffee, and lit a cigarette. 

'Fraulein,' he called. The waitress came over. 

'What would you like, sir?' 

'You,' he said. 

'You must not joke me like that.' 

'I'm not joking.' 

'Then you must not say it.' 

'I haven't time to argue,' Mr. Wheeler said. The train 
comes in forty minutes. If you'll go upstairs with me I'll give 
you a hundred francs.' 

'You should not say such things, sir. I will ask the porter 
to speak with you.' 

'I don't want a porter,' Mr. Wheeler said. 'Nor a police- 
man, nor one of those boys that sell cigarettes. I want you.' 

'If you talk like that you must go out. You cannot stay 
here and talk like that.' 

.'Why don't you go away then? If you go away I can't talk 
to you.' 

The waitress went away. Mr. Wheeler watched to see if 
she spoke to the porters. She did not. 

'Mademoiselle! 3 he called. The waitress came over. 
'Bring me a bottle of Sion, please.' 

'Yes, sir.' 

Mr. Wheeler watched her go out, then come in with 
the wine and bring it to his table. He looked toward the 

Til give you two hundred francs,' he said. 

'Please do not say such things.' 

'Two hundred francs is a great deal of money.' 

'You will not say such things!' the waitress said. She was 
losing her English. Mr. Wheeler looked at her interestedly. 

'Two hundred francs.' 

'You are hateful.' 

'Why don't you go away then? I can't talk to you if you're 
not here.' 


The waitress left the table and went over to the bar. Mr. 
Wheeler drank the wine and smiled to himself for some time. 

'Mademoiselle/ he called. The waitress pretended not to 
hear him. 'Mademoiselle/ he called again. The waitress 
came over. 

'You wish something? 5 

'Very much. I'll give you three hundred francs.' 

'You are hateful.' 

'Three hundred francs Swiss.' 

She went away and Mr. Wheeler looked after her. A 
porter opened the door. He was the one who had Mr. 
Wheeler's bags in his charge. 

'The train is coming, sir/ he said in French. Mr. Wheeler 
stood up. 

'Mademoiselle/ he called. The waitress came toward the 
table. 'How much is the wine?' 

'Seven francs.' 

Mr. Wheeler counted out eight francs and left them on the 
table. He put on his coat and followed the porter onto the 
platform where the snow was falling. 

'Au revoir, Mademoiselle.' he said. The waitress watched 
him go. He's ugly, she thought, ugly and hateful. Three 
hundred francs for a thing that is nothing to do. How many 
times have I done that for nothing. And no place to go here. 
If he had sense he would know there was no place. No time 
and no place to go. Three hundred francs to do that. What 
people those Americans. 

Standing on the cement platform beside his bags, looking 
down the rails toward the headlight of the train corning 
through the snow, Mr. Wheeler was thinking that it was very 
inexpensive sport. He had only spent, actually, aside from 
the dinner, seven francs for a bottle of wine and a franc for 
the tip. Seventy-five centimes would have been better. He 
would have felt better now if the tip had been seventy-five 
centimes. One franc Swiss is five francs French. Mr. 
Wheeler was headed for Paris. He was very careful about 


money and did not care for women. He had been in that 
station before and he knew there was no upstairs to go to. 
Mr. Wheeler never took chances. 


Inside the station cafe it was warm and light; the tables 
were shiny from wiping and on some there were red and 
white striped tablecloths; and there were blue and white 
striped tablecloths on the others and on all of them baskets 
with pretzels in glazed paper sacks. The chairs were carved 
but the wood seats were worn and comfortable. There was 
a clock on the wall, a zinc bar at the far end of the room, and 
outside the window it was snowing. Two of the station 
porters sat drinking new wine at the table under the clock. 

Another porter came in and said the Simplon-Orient 
Express was an hour late at Saint-Maurice. The waitress 
came over to Mr. Johnson's table. 

'The Express is an hour late, sir,' she said. 'Can I bring 
you some coffee?' 

'If it's not too much trouble.' 

Tlease?' asked the waitress. 

Til take some. 5 

Thank you.' 

She brought the coffee from the kitchen and Mr. Johnson 
looked out the window at the snow falling in the light from 
the station platform. 

'Do you speak other languages besides English?' he asked 
the waitress. 

'Oh, yes, I speak German and French and the dialects. 5 

'Would you like a drink of something? 5 

'Oh, no, sir, it is not permitted to drink in the cafe with the 
clients. 5 


'Have a cigar?' 

'Oh, no, sir,' she laughed. 'I don't smoke, sir.' 

'Neither do I,' said Johnson. 'It's a dirty habit.' 

The waitress went away and Johnson lit a cigarette and 
drank the coffee. The clock on the wall marked a quarter to 
ten. His watch was a little fast. The train was due at ten- 
thirty an hour late meant eleven-thirty. Johnson called to 
the waitress. 


'What would you like, sir?' 

'You wouldn't like to play with me?' Johnson asked. The 
waitress blushed. 

'No, sir.' 

'I don't mean anything violent. You wouldn't like to make 
up, a party and see the night life of Vevey? Bring a girl friend 
if you like.' 

'I must work,' the waitress said. 'I have my duty here.' 

'I know,' said Johnson. 'But couldn't you get a substitute? 
They used to do that in the Civil War.' 

'Oh, no, sir. I must be here myself in the person.' 

'Where did you learn your English?' 

'At the Berlitz school, sir.' 

'Tell me about it/ Johnson said. 'Were the Berlitz under- 
graduates a wild lot? What about all this necking and pet- 
ting? Were there many smoothies? Did you ever run into 
Scott Fitzgerald?' 


'I mean were your college days the happiest days of your 
life? What sort of team did Berlitz have last fall?' 

'You are joking, sir?' 

'Only feebly,' said Johnson. 'You're an awfully good girl. 
And you don't want to play with me?' 

'Oil, no, sir,' said the waitress. 'Would you like me to bring 
you something?' 

'Yes,' said Johnson. 'Would you bring me the wine list?' 

'Yes, sir.' 


Johnson walked over with the wine list to the table where 
the three porters sat. They looked up at him. They were old 

'Wollen Sie trinken? 5 he asked. One of them nodded and 

'Oui, monsieur. 5 

'You speak French?' 

'Oui, monsieur. 5 

'What shall we drink? Connais vous des champagnes? 5 

'Non, monsieur.' 

Taut les connaitre, 5 said Johnson. 'Fraulein, 5 he called the 
waitress. 'We will drink champagne. 5 

'Which champagne would you prefer, sir? 5 

'The best, 5 said Johnson. 'Laquelle est le best? 5 he asked 
the porters. 

c Le meilleur?' asked the porter who had spoken first. 

'By all means. 5 

The porter took out a pair of gold-rimmed glasses from his 
coat pocket and looked over the list. He ran his finger down 
the four typewritten names and prices. 

'Sportsman/ he said. 'Sportsman is the best. 5 

'You agree, gentlemen? 5 Johnson asked the other porters. 
The one porter nodded. The other said in French, 'I don 5 t 
know them personally but I've often heard speak of Sports- 
man. It's good. 5 

'A bottle of Sportsman, 5 Johnson said to the waitress. He 
looked at the price on the wine card: eleven francs Swiss. 
'Make it two Sportsmen. Do you mind if I sit here with you? 5 
he asked the porter who had suggested Sportsman. 

'Sit down. Put yourself here, please. 5 The porter smiled at 
him. He was folding his spectacles and putting them away 
in their case. 'Is it the gentleman's birthday? 5 

'No, 5 said Johnson. 'It's not a fete. My wife has decided 
to divorce me. 5 

'So/ said the porter. 'I hope not. 5 The other porter shook 
his head. The third porter seemed a little deaf. 


'It is doubtless a common experience,' said Johnson, 'like 
the first visit to the dentist or the first time a girl is unwell, 
but I have been upset. 5 

'It is understandable,' said the oldest porter. 'I under- 
stand it.' 

'None of you gentlemen is divorced?' Johnson asked. He 
had stopped clowning with the language and was speaking 
good French now and had been for some time. 

'No/ said the porter who had ordered Sportsman. 'They 
don't divorce much here. There are gentlemen who are 
divorced but not many.' 

'With us,' said Johnson, 'it's different. Practically everyone 
is divorced.' 

'That's true,' the porter confirmed. 'I've read it in the 

'I myself am somewhat in retard,' Johnson went on. 'This 
is the first time I have been divorced. I am thirty-five.' 

'Mais vous etes encore jeune,' said the porter. He ex- 
plained to the two others. 'Monsieur n'a que trente-cinq 
ans.' The other porters nodded. 'He's very young,' said one. 

'And it is really the first time you've been divorced?' asked 
the porter. 

'Absolutely,' said Johnson. 'Please open the wine, made- 

'And it is very expensive?' 

'Ten thousand francs.' 

'Swiss money?' 

'No, French money.' 

'Oh, yes. Two thousand francs Swiss. All the same it's not 


'And why does one do it?' 

'One is asked to.' 

'But why do they ask that?' 

'To marry someone else.' 

'But it's idiotic.' 


'I agree with you/ said Johnson. The waitress filled the 
four glasses. They all raised them. 

'Prosit/ said Johnson. 

'A votre sante, monsieur/ said the porter. The other two 
porters said 'Salut'. The champagne tasted like sweet pink 

'Is it a system always to respond in a different language in 
Switzerland?' Johnson asked. 

'No,' said the porter. 'French is more cultivated. Besides, 
this is la Suisse Romande.' 

'But you speak German?' 

'Yes. Where I come from they speak German.' 

'I see/ said Johnson, 'and you say you have never been 

'No. l{ would be too expensive. Besides, I have never 

'Ah/ said Johnson. 'And these other gentlemen?' 

'They are married.' 

'You like being married?' Johnson asked one of the porters. 

'What? 5 

'You like the married state?' 

'Oui. C'est normale.' 

'Exactly/ said Johnson. 'Et vous, monsieur?' 

'Ca va/ said the other porter. 

'Pour moi/ said Johnson, '?a ne va pas.' 

'Monsieur is going to divorce/ the first porter explained. 

'Oh/ said the second porter. 

'Ah ha/ the third porter said. 

'Well/ said Johnson, 'the subject seems to be exhausted. 
You're not interested in my troubles/ he addressed the first 

'But, yes/ said the porter. 

'Well, let's talk about something else.' 

'As you wish.' 

'What can we talk about?' 

'You do the sport?' 


'No,' said Johnson. 'My wife does, though.' 

'What do you do for amusement?' 

'I am a writer.' 

'Does that make much money?' 

*No. But later on when you get known it droes.' 

'It is interesting?' 

'No,' said Johnson, 'it is not interesting. I am sorry, gentle- 
men, but I have to leave you. Will you please drink the 
other bottle?' 

'But the train does not come for three-quarters of an hour.' 

'I know,' said Johnson. The waitress came and he paid for 
the wine and his dinner. 

'You going out, sir?' she asked. 

'Yes,' said Johnson, 'just for a little walk. I'll leave my 
bags here.' 

He put on his muffler, his coat, and his hat. Outside the 
snow was falling heavily. He looked back through the 
window at the three porters sitting at the table. The waitress 
was filling their glasses from the last wine of the opened bottle. 
She took the unopened bottle back to the bar. That makes 
them three francs something apiece, Johnson thought. He 
turned and walked down the platform. Inside the caft he had 
thought that talking about it would blunt it; but it had not 
blunted it; it had only made him feel nasty. 


In the station cafe at Territet it was a little too warm; the 
lights were bright and the tables shiny from polishing. There 
were baskets with pretzels in glazed paper sacks on the tables 
and cardboard pads for beer glasses in order that the moist 
glasses would not make rings on the wood. The chairs were 
carved but the wooden seats were worn and quite com- 
fortable. There was a clock on the wall, a bar at the far end 


of the room, and outside the window it was snowing. There 
was an old man drinking coffee at a table under the clock 
and reading the evening paper. A porter came in and said 
the Simplon-Orient Express was an hour late at Saint- 
Maurice. The waitress came over to Mr. Harris's table. 
Mr. Harris had just finished dinner. 

The Express is an hour late, sir. Can I bring you some 

'If you like. 5 

'Please?' asked the waitress. 

'All right/ said Mr. Harris. 

Thank you, sir,' said the waitress. 

She brought the coffee from the kitchen and Mr. Harris 
put sugar in it, crunched the lumps with his spoon, and 
looked out the window at the snow falling in the light fpom 
the station platform. 

'Do you speak other languages besides English?' he asked 
the waitress. 

'Oh, yes, sir. I speak German and French and the dialects.' 

'Which do you like best?' 

'They are all very much the same, sir. I can't say I like 
one better than another.' 

'Would you like a drink of something or a coffee?' 

'Oh, no, sir, it is not permitted to drink in the cafe with the 

'You wouldn't take a cigar?' 

'Oh, no, sir,' she laughed. 'I don't smoke, sir.' 

'Neither do I, said Harris. 'I don't agree with David 


'Belasco. David Belasco. You can always tell him because 
he has his collar on backwards. But I don't agree with him. 
Then, too, he's dead now.' 

'Will you excuse me, sir?' asked the waitress. 

'Absolutely,' said Harris. He sat forward in the chair and 
looked out of the window. Across the room the old man 


had folded his paper. He looked at Mr. Harris and then 
picked up his coffee cup and saucer and walked to Harris's 

'I beg your pardon if I intrude/ he said in English, 'but it 
has just occurred to me that you might be a, member of the 
National Geographic Society.' 

'Please sit down/ Harris said. The gentleman sat down. 

'Won't you have another coffee or a liqueur?' 

'Thank you/ said the gentleman. 

'Won't you have a kirsch with me?' 

'Perhaps. But you must have it with me.' 

'No, I insist. 3 Harris called the waitress. The old gentle- 
man took out from an inside pocket of his coat a leather 
pocket-book. He took off a wide rubber band and drew out 
several papers, selected one, and handed it to Harris. 

'That is my certificate of membership,' he said. 'Do you 
know Frederick J. Roussel in America?' 

'I'm afraid I don't.' 

'I believe he is very prominent.' 

'Where does he come from? Do you know what part of the 

'From Washington, of course. Isn't that the headquarters 
of the Society?' 

'I believe it is.' 

'You believe it is. Aren't you sure?' 

'I've been away a long time,' Harris said. 

'You're not a member, then?' 

'No. But my father is. He's been a member for a great 
many years. 3 

'Then he would know Frederick J. Roussel. He is one of 
the officers of the Society. You will observe that it is by Mr. 
Roussel that I was nominated for membership.' 

'I'm awfully glad. 3 

'I am sorry you are not a member. But you could obtain 
nomination through your father?' 

'I think so,' said Harris. C I must when I go back. 3 


'I would advise you to,' said the gentleman. 'You see the 
magazine, of course?' 


'Have you seen the number with the coloured plates of the 
North American fauna?' 

'Yes. I have it in Paris.' 

'And the number containing the panorama of the vol- 
canoes of Alaska?' 

'That was a wonder.' 

'I enjoyed very much, too, the wild animal photographs 
of George Shiras three.' 

'They were damned fine.' 

'I beg your pardon?' 

'They were excellent. That fellow Shiras ' 

'You call him that fellow?' 

'We're old friends,' said Harris. 

*I see. You know George Shiras three. He must be very 

'He is. He's about the most interesting man I know.' 

'And do you know George Shiras two? Is he interesting 

'Oh, he's not so interesting.' 

'I should imagine he would be very interesting.' 

"You know, a funny thing. He's not so interesting. I've 
often wondered why.' 

'H'm/ said the gentleman. 'I should have thought anyone 
in that family would be interesting.' 

'Do you remember the panorama of the Sahara Desert?' 
Harris asked. 

'The Sahara Desert? That was nearly fifteen years ago.' 

'That's right. That was one of my father's favourites.' 

*He doesn't prefer the newer numbers?' 

'He probably does. But he was very fond of the Sahara 

'It was excellent. But to me its artistic value far exceeded 
its scientific interest.' 


'I don't know/ said Harris. 'The wind blowing all that 
sand and that Arab with his camel kneeling toward Mecca/ 

'As I recall, the Arab was standing holding the camel.' 

'You're quite right,' said Harris. 'I was thinking of 
Colonel Lawrence's book.' 

'Lawrence's book deals with Arabia, I believe.' 

'Absolutely,' said Harris. 'It was the Arab reminded me 
of it.' 

'He must be a very interesting young man.' 

'I believe he is.' 

'Do you know what he is doing now?' 

'He's in the Royal Air Force.' 

'And why does he do that?' 

'He likes it.' 

'J)o you know if he belongs to the National Geographic 

'I wonder if he does.' 

'He would make a very good member. He is the sort of 
person they want as a member. I would be very happy to 
nominate him if you think they would like to have him. 5 

'I think they would.' 

'I have nominated a scientist from Vevey and a colleague 
of mine from Lauzanne and they were both elected. I believe 
they would be very pleased if I nominated Colonel Lawrence. 5 

'It's a splendid idea,' said Harris. 'Do you come here to 
the cafe often?' 

'I come here for coffee after dinner. 5 

'Are you in the University? 5 

'I am not active any longer. 5 

Tm just waiting for the train,' said Harris. Tm going up 
to Paris and sail from Havre for the States. 5 

'I have never been to America. But I would like to go very 
much. Perhaps I shall attend a meeting of the society some 
time. I would be very happy to meet your father. 5 

Tm sure he would have liked to meet you but he died last 
year. Shot himself, oddly enough. 5 


C I am very truly sorry. I am sure his loss was a blow to 
science as well as to his family. 5 

'Science took it awfully well.' 

'This is my card/ Harris said. 'His initials were E. J. 
instead of E. D. I know he would have liked to know you.' 

'It would hAve been a great pleasure.' The gentleman 
took out a card from the pocket-book and gave it to Harris. 
It read : 


Member of the National Geographic 
Society, Washington, DC., USA 

'I will keep it very carefully/ Harris said. 


HE came into the room to shut the windows while we were 
still in bed and I saw he looked ill. He was shivering, his face 
was white, and he walked slowly as though it ached to move. 

'What's the matter, Schatz?' 

'I've got a headache.' 

'You better go back to bed.' 

No. I'm all right.' 

'You go to bed. I'll see you when I'm dressed.' 

But when I came downstairs he was dressed, sitting by the 
fire, looking a very sick and miserable boy of nine years. 
When I put my hand on his forehead I knew he had a fever. 

'You go up to bed,' I said, 'you're sick.' 

'I'm all right,' he said. 

When the doctor came he took the boy's temperature. 

'What is it?' I asked him. 

'One hundred and two.' 

Downstairs, the doctor left three different medicines in 
different coloured capsules with instructions for giving them. 
One was to bring down the fever, another a purgative, the 
third to overcome an acid condition. The germs of influenza 
can only exist in an acid condition, he explained. He seemed 
to know all about influenza and said there was nothing to 
worry about if the fever did not go above one hundred and 
four degrees. This was a light epidemic of 'flu and there was 
no danger if you avoided pneumonia. 

Back in the room I wrote the boy's temperature down and 
made a note of the time to give the various capsules. 

'Do you want me to read to you?' 

'All right. If you want to,' said the boy. His face was very 
white and there were dark areas under his eyes. He lay still 
in the bed and seemed very detached from what was 
;going on. 



I read aloud from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates\ but I 
could see he was not following what I was reading. 

'How do you feel, Schatz?' I asked him. 

'Just the same, so far, 5 he said. 

I sat at the foot of the bed and read to myself while I 
waited for it to be time to give another capsule. It would 
have been natural for him to go to sleep, but when I looked 
up he was looking at the foot of the bed, looking very 

'Why don't you try to go to sleep? I'll wake you up for the 

Td rather stay awake.' 

After a while he said to me, 'You don't have to stay in here 
with me Papa, if it bothers you.' 

'It doesn't bother me.' 

'No, I mean you don't have to stay if it's going to bother 

I thought perhaps he was a little lightheaded and after 
giving him the prescribed capsules at eleven o'clock I went 
out for a while. 

It was a bright, cold day, the ground covered with a sleet 
that had frozen so that it seemed as if all the bare trees, the 
bushes, the cut brush and all the grass and the bare ground 
had been varnished with ice. I took the young Irish setter 
for a little walk up the road and along a frozen creek, but it 
was difficult to stand or walk on the glassy surface and the 
red dog slipped and slithered and I fell twice, hard, once 
dropp'ng my gun and having it slide away over the ice. 

We flushed a covey of quail under a high clay bank with 
overhanging brush and I killed two as they went out of sight 
over the top of the bank. Some of the covey lit in trees, but 
most of them scattered into brush piles and it was necessary 
to jump on the ice-coated mounds of brush several times 
before they would flush. Coming out while you were poised 
unsteadily on the icy, springy brush they made difficult 
shooting and I killed two, missed five, and started back 


pleased to have found a covey close to the house and happy 
there were so many left to find on another day. 

At the house they said the boy had refused to let anyone 
come into the room. 

'You can't come in,' he said. 'You mustn't get what I 

I went up to him and found him in exactly the position I 
had left him, white-faced, but with the tops of his cheeks 
flushed by the fever, staring still, as he had stared, at the foot 
of the bed. 

I took his temperature. 

'What is it?' 

'Something like a hundred,' I said. It was one hundred 
and two and four-tenths. 

'If was a hundred arid two,' he said. 

'Who said so?' 

The doctor. 5 

'Your temperature is all right,' I said. 'It's nothing to 
worry about.' 

'I don't worry,' he said, 'but I can't keep from thinking.' 

'Don't think,' I said. 'Just take it easy.' 

Tm taking it easy,' he said, and looked straight ahead. 
He was evidently holding tight on to himself about some- 

'Take this with water/ 

'Do you think it will do any good?' 

'Of course it will.' 

I sat down and opened the Pirate book and commenced to 
read, but I could see he was not following, so I stopped. 

'About what time do you think I'm going to die?' he asked. 

'What? 5 

'About how long will it be before I die?' 

*You aren't going to die. What's the matter with you? 5 

'Oh, yes, I am. I heard him say a hundred and two. 5 

'People don't die with a fever of one hundred and two. 
That's a silly way to talk. 5 


'I know they do. At school in France the boys told me you 
can't live with forty-four degrees. I've got a hundred and 

He had been waiting to die all day, ever since nine o'clock 
in the morning. 

'You poor Schatz,' I said. Toor old Schatz. It's like miles 
and kilometres. You aren't going to die. That's a different 
thermometer. On that thermometer thirty-seven is normal. 
On this kind it's ninety-eight.' 

'Absolutely,' I said. 'It's like miles and kilometres. You 
know, like how many kilometres we make when we do 
seventy miles in the car?' 

'Oh/ he said. 

But his gaze at the foot of the bed relaxed slowly. The hold 
over himself relaxed too, finally, and the next day it was v^ry 
slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no 


IT has always seemed to me that the war has been omitted 
as a field for the observations of the naturalist. We have 
charming and sound accounts of the flora and fauna of Pata- 
gonia by the late W. H. Hudson, the Reverend Gilbert White 
has written most interestingly of the Hoopoe on its occasional 
and not at all common visits to Selborne, and Bishop Stanley 
has given us a valuable, although popular, Familiar History of 
Birds. Can we not hope to furnish the reader with a few 
rational and interesting facts about the dead? I hope so. 

When that persevering traveller, Mungo Park, was at one 
period of his course fainting in the vast wilderness of an 
African desert, naked and alone, considering his days as 
numbered and nothing appearing to remain for him to do 
but to lie down and die, a small moss-flower of extraordinary 
beauty caught his eye. 'Though the whole plant,' says he, 
'was no larger than one of my fingers, I could not contemplate 
the delicate confirmation of its roots, leaves and capsules 
without admiration. Can that Being who planted, watered 
and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the world, a 
thing which appears of so small importance, look with un- 
concern upon the situation and suffering of creatures formed 
after his own image? Surely not. Reflections like these 
would not allow me to despair; I started up and, disregarding 
both hunger and fatigue, travelled forward, assured that 
relief was at hand; and I was not disappointed.' 

With a disposition to wonder and adore in like manner, as 
Bishop Stanley says, can any branch of Natural History be 
studied without increasing that faith, love and hope which 
we also, every one of us, need in our journey through the 
wilderness of life? Let us therefore see what inspiration we 
may derive from the dead. 


In war the dead are usually the male of the human species, 
although this does not hold true with animals, and I have 
frequently seen dead mares among the horses. An interesting 
aspect of war, too, is that it is only there that the naturalist 
has an opportunity to observe the dead of mules. In twenty 
years of observation in civil life I had never seen a dead mule 
and had begun to entertain doubts as to whether these 
animals were really mortal. On rare occasions I had seen 
what I took to be dead mules, but on close approach these 
always proved to be living creatures who seemed to be dead 
through their quality of complete repose. But in war these 
animals succumb in much the same manner as the more 
common and less hardy horse. 

Most of the mules that I saw dead were along mountain 
roads or lying at the foot of steep declivities whence they.'had 
been pushed to rid the road of their encumbrance. They 
seemed a fitting enough sight in the mountains where one was 
accustomed to their presence and looked less incongruous 
there than they did later, at Smyrna, where the Greeks broke 
the legs of all their baggage animals and pushed them off the 
quay into the shallow water to drown. The numbers of 
broken-legged mules and horses drowning in the shallow 
water called for a Goya to depict them. Although, speaking 
literally, one can hardly say that they called for a Goya 
since there has only been one Goya, long dead, and it is 
extremely doubtful if these animals, were they able to call, 
would call for pictorial representation of their plight but, 
more likely, would, if they were articulate, call for someone 
to alleviate their condition. 

Regarding the sex of the dead it is a fact that one becomes 
so accustomed to the sight of all the dead being men that the 
sight of a dead woman is quite shocking. I first saw inversion 
of the usual sex of the dead after the explosion of a munition 
factory which had been situated in the countryside near 
Milan, Italy. We drove to the scene of the disaster in trucks 
along poplar-shaded roads, bordered with ditches containing* 


much minute animal life, which I could not clearly observe 
because of the great clouds of dust raised by the trucks. 
Arriving where the munition plant had been, some of us 
were put to patrolling about those large stocks of munitions 
which for some reason had not exploded, while others were 
put at extinguishing a fire which had gotten into the grass of 
an adjacent field; which task being concluded, we were 
ordered to search the immediate vicinity and surrounding 
fields for bodies. We found and carried to an improvised 
mortuary a good number of these and, I must admit, frankly, 
the shock it was to find that these dead were women rather 
than men. In those days women had not yet commenced to 
wear their hair cut short, as they did later for several years 
in Europe and America, #nd the most disturbing thing, per- 
haps because it was the most unaccustomed, was the presence, 
and, even more disturbing, the occasional absence of this 
long hair. I remember that after we had searched quite 
thoroughly for the complete dead we collected fragments. 
Many of these were detached from a heavy, barbed- wire 
fence which had surrounded the position of the factory and 
from the still existent portions of which we picked many of 
these detached bits which illustrated only too well the 
tremendous energy of high explosive. Many fragments we 
found a considerable distance away in the fields, they being 
carried farther by their own weight. 

On our return to Milan I recall one or two of us discussing 
the occurrence and agreeing that the quality of unreality and 
the fact that there were no wounded did much to rob the 
disaster of a horror which might have been much greater. 
Also the fact that it had been so immediate and that the dead 
were in consequence still as little unpleasant as possible to 
carry and deal with made it quite removed from the usual 
battlefield experience. The pleasant, though dusty, ride 
through the beautiful Lombard countryside also was a com- 
pensation for the unpleasantness of the duty and on our 
return, while we exchanged impressions, we all agreed that 


it was indeed fortunate that the fire which broke out just 
before we arrived had been brought under control as rapidly 
as it had and before it had attained any of the seemingly 
huge stocks of unexploded munitions. We agreed too that 
the picking up of the fragments had been an extraordinary 
business; it being amazing that the human body should be 
blown into pieces which exploded along no anatomical lines, 
but rather divided as capriciously as the fragmentation in 
the burst of a high explosive shell. 

A naturalist, to obtain accuracy of observation, may con- 
fine himself in his observations to one limited period and I 
will take first that following the Austrian offensive of June, 
1918, in Italy as one in which the dead were present in their 
greatest numbers, a withdrawal having been forced and an 
advance later made to recover the ground lost so that the 
positions after the battle were the same as before except for 
the presence of the dead. Until the dead are buried they 
change somewhat in appearance each day. The colour 
change in Caucasian races is from white to yellow, to yellow- 
green, to black. If left long enough in the heat the flesh 
comes to resemble coal-tar, especially where it has been 
broken or torn, and it has quite a visible tar-like iridescence. 
The dead grow larger each day until sometimes they be- 
come quite too big for their uniforms, filling these until they 
seem blown tight enough to burst. The individual members 
may increase in girth to an unbelievable extent and faces 
fill as taut and globular as balloons. The surprising thing, 
next to their progressive corpulence, is the amount of paper 
that is scattered about the dead. Their ultimate position, 
before there is any question of burial, depends on the location 
of the pockets in the uniform. In the Austrian army these 
pockets were in the back of the breeches and the dead, after a 
short time, all consequently lay on their faces, the two hip 
pockets pulled out and, scattered around them in the grass, 
all those papers their pockets contained. The heat, the flies, 
the indicative positions of the bodies in the grass, and the 


amount of paper scattered are the impressions one retains. 
The smell of a battlefield in hot weather one cannot recall. 
You can remember that there was such a smell, but nothing 
ever happens to you to bring it back. It is unlike the smell of 
a regiment, which may come to you suddenly while riding in 
the street car and you will look across and see the man who 
has brought it to you. But the other thing is gone as com- 
pletely as when you have been in love; you remember things 
that happened, but the sensation cannot be recalled. 

One wonders what that persevering traveller, Mungo Park, 
would have seen on a battlefield in hot weather to restore his 
confidence. There were always poppies in the wheat in the 
end of June and in July, and the mulberry trees were in full 
leaf and one could see the heat waves rise from the barrels of 
thecguns where the sun struck them through the screens of 
leaves; the earth was turned a bright yellow at the edge of 
holes where mustard- gas shells had been and the average 
broken house is finer to see than one that has been shelled, 
but few travellers would take a good fuJl breath of that early 
summer air and have any such thoughts as Mungo Park about 
those formed in His own image. 

The first thing that you found about the dead was that, 
hit badly enough, they died like animals. Some quickly 
from a little wound you would not think would kill a rabbit. 
They died from little wounds as rabbits die sometimes from 
three or four small grains of shot that hardly seem to break 
the skin. Others would die like cats; a skull broken in and 
iron in the brain, they lie alive two days like cats that crawl 
into the coal bin with a bullet in the brain and will not die 
until you cut their heads off. Maybe cats do not die then, 
they say they have nine lives. I do not know, but most men 
die like animals, not men. I'd never seen a natural death, 
so called, and so I blamed it on the war and like the persever- 
ing traveller, Mungo Park, knew that there was something 
else, that always absent something else, and then I saw one. 

The only natural death I've ever seen, outside of loss of 


blood, which isn't bad, was death from Spanish influenza. 
In this you drown in mucus, choking, and how you know the 
patient's dead is: at the end he turns to be a little child again, 
though with his manly force, and fills the sheets as full as any 
diaper with one vast, final, yellow cataract that flows and 
dribbles on after he's gone. So now I want to see the death 
of any self-called Humanist 1 because a persevering traveller 
like Mungo Park or me lives on and maybe yet will live to see 
the actual death of members of this literary sect and watch 
the noble exits that they make. In my musings as a naturalist 
it has occurred to me that while decorum is an excellent 
thing some must be indecorous if the race is to be carried on 
since the position prescribed for procreation is indecorous, 
highly indecorous, and it occurred to me that perhaps that 
is what these people are, or were: the children of decoreus 
cohabitation. But regardless of how they started I hope to see 
the finish of a few, and speculate how worms will try that 
long preserved sterility; with their quaint pamphlets gone to 
bust and into footnotes all their lust. 

While it is, perhaps, legitimate to deal with these self- 
designated citizens in a natural history of the dead, even 
though the designation may mean nothing by the time this 
work is published, yet it is unfair to the other dead, who were 
not dead in their youth of choice, who owned no magazines, 
many of whom had doubtless never even read a review, that 
one has seen in the hot weather with a half-pint of maggots 
working where their mouths have been. It was not always 
hot weather for the dead, much of the time it was the rain 
that washed them clean when they lay in it and made the 
earth soft when they were buried in it and sometimes then 
kept on until the earth was mud and washed them out and 
you had to bury them again. Or in the winter in the moun- 
tains you had to put them in the snow and when the snow 

1 The Reader's indulgence is requested for this mention of an extinct 
phenomenon. The reference, like all references to fashions, dates the story, 
but it is retained because of its mild historical interest and because its 
omission would spoil the rhythm. 



melted in the spring someone else had to bury them. They 
had beautiful burying grounds in the mountains, war in the 
mountains is the most beautiful of all war, and in one of them, 
at a place called Pocol, they buried a general who was shot 
through the head by a sniper. This is where those writers 
are mistaken who write books called Generals Die in Bed, 
because this general died in a trench dug in snow, high in 
the mountains, wearing an Alpini hat with an eagle feather 
in it and a hole in front you couldn't put your little finger in 
and a hole in back you could put your fist in, if it were a 
small fist and you wanted to put it there, and much blood in 
the snow. He was a damned fine general, and so was General 
von Behr who commanded the Bavarian Alpenkorps troops 
at the battle of Caporetto and was killed in his staff car by the 
Italian rearguard as he drove into Udine ahead of his troops, 
and the titles of all such books should be Generals Usually Die 
in Bed, if we are to have any sort of accuracy in such things. 
In the mountains, too, sometimes, the snow fell on the dead 
outside the dressing station on the side that was protected by 
the mountain from any shelling. They carried them into a 
cave that had been dug into the mountainside before the 
earth froze. It was in this cave that a man whose head was 
broken as a flower-pot may be broken, although it was all 
held together by membranes and a skilfully applied bandage 
now soaked and hardened, with the structure of his brain 
disturbed by a piece of broken steel in it, lay a day, a night, 
and a day. The stretcher-bearers asked the doctor to go in 
and have a look at him. They saw him each time they made 
a trip and even when they did not look at him they heard 
him breathing. The doctor's eyes were red and the lids 
swollen, almost shut from tear gas. He looked at the man 
twice; once in daylight, once with a flashlight. That too 
would have made a good etching for Goya, the visit with the 
flashlight, I mean. After looking at him the second time the 
doctor believed the stretcher-bearers when they said the 
soldier was still alive. 


'What do you want me to do about it? 5 he asked. 

There was nothing they wanted done. But after a while 
they asked permission to carry him out and lay him with the 
badly wounded. 

'No. No. No!' said the doctor, who was busy. 'What's 
the matter? Are you afraid of him?' 

c We don't like to hear him in there with the dead.' 

'Don't listen to him. If you take him out of there you will 
have to carry him right back in.' 

c We wouldn't mind that, Captain Doctor. 5 

'No,' said the doctor. 'No. Didn't you hear me say no?' 

'Why don't you give him an overdose of morphine?' asked 
an artillery officer who was waiting to have a wound in his 
arm dressed. 

'Do you think that is the only use I have for morphine? 
Would you like me to have to operate without morphine? 
You have a pistol, go out and shoot him yourself.' 

'He's been shot already, 3 said the officer. 'If some of you 
doctors were shot you'd be different.' 

'Thank you very much/ said the doctor waving a forceps 
in the air. 'Thank you a thousand times. What about these 
eyes?' He pointed the forceps at them. 'How would you like 

'Tear gas. We call it lucky if it's tear gas.' 

'Because you leave the line,' said the doctor. 'Because you 
came running here with your tear gas to be evacuated. You 
rub onions in your eyes. 3 

'You are beside yourself. I do not notice your insults. You 
are crazy.' 

The stretcher-bearers came in. 

'Captain Doctor/ one of them said. 

'Get out of here!' said the doctor. 

They went out. 

'I will shoot the poor fellow,' the artillery officer said. 'I 
am a humane man. I will not let him suffer. 3 

'Shoot him then/ said the doctor. 'Shoot him. Assume 


the responsibility. I will make a report. Wounded shot by 
lieutenant of artillery in first curing post. Shoot him. Go 
ahead, shoot him.' 

'You are not a human being.' 

'My business is to care for the wounded, not to kill them. 
That is for gentlemen of the artillery.' 

'Why don't you care for him then?' 

'I have done so, I have done all that can be done.' 

'Why don't you send him down on the cable railway?' 

'Who are you to ask me questions? Are you my superior 
officer? Are you in command of this dressing-post? Do me 
the courtesy to answer.' 

The lieutenant of artillery said nothing. The others in the 
room were all soldiers and there were no other officers 

'Answer me,' said the doctor holding a needle up in his 
forceps. 'Give me a response.' 

*F yourself,' said the artillery officer. 

'So,' said the doctor. 'So, you said that. All right. All 
right. We shall see.' 

The lieutenant of artillery stood up and walked toward 

'F yourself,' he said. 'F yourself. F your 

mother. F your sister . . .' 

The doctor tossed the saucer full of iodine in his face. As he 
came toward him, blinded, the lieutenant fumbled for his 
pistol. The doctor skipped quickly behind him, tripped him 
and, as he fell to the floor, kicked him several times and 
picked up the pistol in his rubber gloves. The lieutenant sat 
on the floor holding his good hand to his eyes. 

'I'll kill you!' he said. Til kill you as soon as I can see.' 

'I am the boss,' said the doctor. 'All is forgiven since you 
know I am the boss. You cannot kill me because I have your 
pistol. Sergeant! Adjutant! Adjutant!' 

'The adjutant is at the cable railway,' said the sergeant. 

'Wipe out this officer's eyes with alcohol and water. He has 


got iodine in them. Bring me the basin to wash my hands. 
I will take this officer next.' 

'You won't touch me.' 

'Hold him tight. He is a little delirious.' 

One of the stretcher-bearers came in. 

'Captain Doctor.' 

'What do you want?' 

'The man in the dead-house ' 

'Get out of here.' 

'Is dead, Captain Doctor. I thought you would be glad to 

'See, my poor lieutenant? We dispute about nothing. In 
time of war we dispute about nothing,' 

T you,' said the lieutenant of artillery. He still could 

not see. 'You've blinded me.' 

'It is nothing,' said the doctor. 'Your eyes will be all 
right. It is nothing. A dispute about nothing.' 

'Ayee! Ayee! Ayee!' suddenly screamed the lieutenant. 
'You have blinded me! You have blinded me!' 

'Hold him tight, 5 said the doctor. 'He is in much pain. 
Hold him very tight.' 


IT was a hot afternoon in Wyoming; the mountains were a 
long way away and you could see snow on their tops, but they 
made no shadow, and in the valley the grain-fields were 
yellow, the road was dusty with cars passing, and all the 
small wooden houses at the edge of town were baking in the 
sun. There was a tree made shade over Fontan's back porch 
and I sat there at a table and Madame Fontan brought up 
cold beer from the cellar. A motor-car turned off the main 
road and came up the side road, and stopped beside the 
house. Two men got out and came in through the gate. I 
pift the bottles under the table. Madame Fontan stood up. 

'Where's Sam?' one of the men asked at the screen door. 

'He ain't here. He's at the mines. 5 

'You got some beer?' 

c No. Ain't got any beer. That's a last bottle. All gone.' 

'What's he drinking?' 

That's a last bottle. All gone.' 

c Go on, give us some beer. You know me.' 

c Ain't got any beer. That's a last bottle. All gone.' 

'Come on, let's go some place where we can get some real 
beer,' one of them said, and they went out to the car. One of 
them walked unsteadily. The motor-car jerked in starting, 
whirled on the road, and went on and away. 

Tut the beer on the table,' Madame Fontan said. 'What's 
the matter, yes, all right. What's the matter? Don't drink off 
the floor.' 

'I didn't know who they were, 5 I said. 

'They're drunk,' she said. 'That's what makes the trouble. 
Then they go somewhere else and say they got it here. 
Maybe they don't even remember.' She spoke French, but it 
was only French occasionally, and there were many English 
words and some English constructions. 


'Where's Fontan? 5 

'II fait de la vendange. Oh, my God, il est crazy pour 
le vin.' 

'But you like the beer? 5 

'Oui, j'aim la biere, mais Fontan, il est crazy pour le vin. 5 

She was a plump old woman with a lovely ruddy com- 
plexion and white hair. She was very clean and the house 
was very clean and neat. She came from Lens. 

'Where did you eat?' 

'At the hotel.' 

'Mangez ici. II ne faut pas manger a 1'hotel ou au 
restaurant. Mangez ici!' 

'I don't want to make you trouble. And besides they eat 
all right at the hotel.' 

'I never eat at the hotel. Maybe they cat all right tfcere. 
Only once in my life I ate at a restaurant in America. You 
know what they gave me? They gave me pork that was raw!' 


'I don't lie to you. It was pork that wasn't cooked! Etmon 
fils il est marie avec une americaine, et tout le temps il a 
mange les beans en can? 

'How long has he been married? 5 

'Oh, my God, I don't know. His wife weighs two hundred 
twenty-five pounds. She don 5 t work. She don't cook. She 
gives him beans en can.' 

'What does she do?' 

'All the time she reads. Rien que des books. Tout le temps 
elle stay in the bed and read books. Already she can't have 
another baby. She's too fat. There ain 5 t any room. 5 

'What's the matter with her?' 

'She reads books all the time. He's a good boy. He works 
hard. He worked in the mines; now he works on a ranch. He 
never worked on a ranch before, and the man that owns the 
ranch said to Fontan that he never saw anybody work 
better on that ranch than that boy. Then he comes home 
and she feeds him nothing. 5 


'Why doesn't he get a divorce?' 

'He ain't got no money to get a divorce. Besides, il est crazy 
pour elle.' 

'Is she beautiful?' 

'He thinks so. When he brought her hom I thought I 
would die. He's such a good boy and works hard all the time 
and never run around or make any trouble. Then he goes 
away to work in the oil-fields and brings home this Indienne 
that weighs right then one hundred eighty-five pounds.' 

'Elle est Indienne?' 

'She's Indian all right. My God, yes. All the time she says 
sonofabitsh goddam. She don't work.' 

'Where is she now?' 

'Au show.' 

'^here's that?' 

'Au show. Moving pictures. All she does is read and go to 
the show.' 

'Have you got any more beer?' 

'My God, yes. Sure. You come and eat with us to-night.' 

'All right. What should I bring?' 

'Don't bring anything. Nothing at all. Maybe Fontan will 
have some of the wine.' 

That night I had dinner at Fontan's. We ate in the dining- 
room and there was a clean tablecloth. We tried the new 
wine. It was very light and clear and good, and still tasted of 
the grapes. At the table there were Fontan and Madame and 
the little boy, Andre. 

'What did you do to-day?' Fontan asked. He was an old 
man with small mine-tired body, a drooping grey mous- 
tache, and bright eyes, and was from the Centre near 

'I worked on my book. 5 

'Were your books all right?' asked Madame. 

'He means he writes a book like a writer. Un roman, 5 
Fontan explained. 


'Pa, can I go to the show?' Andre asked. 

'Sure, 5 said Fontan. Andre turned to me. 

'How old do you think I am? Do you think I look fourteen 
years old?' He was a thin little boy, but his face looked 
sixteen. t 

'Yes. You look fourteen.' 

'When I go to the show I crouch down like this and try to 
look small.' His voice was very high and breaking. 'If I give 
them a quarter they keep it all, but if I give them only fifteen 
cents they let me in all right.' 

'I only give you fifteen cents, then,' said Fontan. 

'No. Give me the whole quarter. I'll get it changed on the 

'II faut revenir tout de suite apres le show,' Madame 
Fontan said. m 

'I come right back.' Andre went out the door. The night 
was cooling outside. He left the door open and a cool breeze 
came in. 

'Mangez!' said Madame Fontan. 'You haven't eaten any- 
thing.' I had eaten two helpings of chicken and French fried 
potatoes, three ears of sweet corn, some sliced cucumbers, and 
two helpings of salad. 

'Perhaps he wants some kek,' Fontan said. 

'I should have gotten some kek for him,' Madame Fontan 
said. 'Mangez du fromage. Mangez du crimcheez. Vous 
n'avez rien mange. I ought have gotten kek. Americans 
always eat kek.' 

'Mais j'ai rudement bien mange.' 

'Mangez! Vous n'avez rien mange. Eat it all. We don't 
save anything. Eat it all up.' 

'Eat some more salad,' Fontan said. 

Til get some more beer, 3 Madame Fontan said. 'If you 
work all day in a book-factory you get hungry.' 

'Elle ne comprend pas que vous etes 6crivain,' Fontan said. 
He was a delicate old man who used the slang and knew the 
popular songs of his period of military service in the end of 


the iSgo's. 'He writes the books himself/ he explained to 

'You write the books yourself? 5 Madame asked. 

'Sometimes. 5 

'Oh!' she said. Oh! You write them yourself. Oh! Well, 
you get hungry if you do that too. Mangez! Je vais chercher 
de la bire.' 

We heard her walking on the stairs to the cellar. Fontan 
smiled at me. He was very tolerant of people who had not his 
experience and worldly knowledge. 

When Andre came home from the show we were still sitting 
in the kitchen and were talking about hunting. 

'Labour day we all went to Clear Creek/ Madame said. 
'Oh, my God, you ought to have been there all right. We all 
w&it in the truck. Tout le monde est alle dans le truck. Nous 
sommes partis le dimanche. C'est le truck de Charley.' 

'On a mange, on a bu du vin, de la bi&re, et il y avait aussi 
un frangais qui a apporte de P absinthe/ Fontan said. 'Un 
fran^ais de la Californie!' 

'My God, nous avons chante. There's a farmer comes to 
see what's the matter, and we give him something to drink, 
and he stayed with us awhile. There was some Italians come 
too, and they want to stay with us too. We sung a song about 
the Italians and they don't understand it. They didn't know 
we didn't want them, but we didn't have nothing to do with 
them, and after a while they went away.' 

'How many fish did you catch?' 

'Trs peu. We went to fish a little while, but then we came 
back to sing again. Nous avons chante, vous savez.' 

'In the night/ said Madame, 'toutes les femmes dort dans 
le truck. Les hommes a cote du feu. In the night I hear 
Fontan come to get some more wine, and I tell him, Fontan, 
my God, leave some for to-morrow. To-morrow they won't 
have anything to drink, and then they'll be sorry.' 

'Mais nous avons tout bu/ Fontan said. 'Et le lendemain 
il ne reste rien.' 


'What did you do?' 

c Nous avons peche serieusement.' 

'Good trout, all right, too. My God, yes. All the same; 
half-pound one ounce.' 

'How big?'* 

'Half-pound one ounce. Just right to cat. All the same 
size; half-pound one ounce.' 

'How do you like America?' Fontan asked me. 

'It's my country, you see. So I like it, because it's my 
country. Mais on ne mange pas tres bien. D'antan, oui. 
Mais maintenant, no.' 

'No,' said Madame. 'On ne mange pas bien.' She shook 
her head. 'Et aussi, il y a trop de Polack. Quandj'etais petite 
ma mere m'adit, "vous mangez comme les Polacks", Jc n'ai 
jamais compris ce que c'est qu'un Polack. Mais maintenant 
en Amerique je comprends. II y a trop de Polack. Et, my 
God, ils sont sales, les Polacks.' 

'It is fine for hunting and fishing,' I said. 

'Oui. Ca, c'est le meilleur. La chassc et la peche,' Fontan 
said. 'Qu'est-ce que vous avez comme fusil?' 

'A twelve-gauge pump.' 

'II est bon, le pump,' Fontan nodded his head. 

'Je vcux aller a la chasse moi-meme,' Andre said in his high 
little boy's voice. 

Tu ne peux pas,' Fontan said. He turned to me. 

'Us sont des sauvages, les boys, vous savez. Ils sont des 
sauvages. Ils veulent shooter les uns les autres.' 

'Je veux aller tout seul,' Andre said, very shrill and excited. 

'You can't go,' Madame Fontan said. 'You are too young.' 

'Je veux aller tout seul,' Andre said shrilly. 'Je veux 
shooter les rats d'eau.' 

'What are rats d'eau?' I asked. 

'You don't know them? Sure you know them. What they 
call the muskrats.' 

Andre had brought the twenty-two-calibre rifle out from 
the cupboard and was holding it in his hands under the light. 


'Us sont des sauvages/ Fontan explained. 'Us veulent 
shooter les uns les autres.' 

'Je veux aller tout seul/ Andre shrilled. He looked des- 
perately along the barrel of the gun. 'Je vous shooter les rats 
d'eau. Je connais beaucoup de rats d'eau.' 

'Give me the gun,' Fontan said. He explained again to me. 
'They're savages. They would shoot one another. 5 

Andre held tight onto the gun. 

'On peut looker. On ne fait pas de mal. On peut looker.' 

'II cst crazy pour le shooting,' Madame Fontan said. 'Mais 
il est trop jeune.' 

Andre put the twenty-two-calibre rifle back in the cup- 

'When I'm bigger I'll shoot the muskrats and the jack- 
rabfrits too,' he said in English. 'One time I went out with 
papa and he shot a jack-rabbit just a little bit and I shot it 
and hit it.' 

'C'est vrai, 5 Fontan nodded. fi ll a tue un jack.' 

'But he hit it first/ Andre said. 'I want to go all by myself 
and shoot all by myself. Next year I can do it.' He went over 
in a corner and sat down to read a book. I had picked it up 
when we came into the kitchen to sit after supper. It was 
a library book Frank on a Gunboat. 

'II aime les books,' Madame Fontan said. 'But it's better 
than to run around at night with the older boys and steal 

'Books are all right.' Fontan said. 'Monsieur il fait les 

'Yes, that's so, all right. But too many books are bad,' 
Madame Fontan said. 'Ici, c'est une maladie, les books. 
C'est commes les churches. Ici il y a trop de churches. En 
France il y a seulement les catholiques et les protestants et 
tres peu de protestants. Mais ici rien que de churches. 
Quand j'^tais venu ici je disais, oh, my God, what are all the 

'C'est vrai/ Fontan said. 'II y a trop de churches.' 


'The other day, 5 Madame Fontan said, 'there was a little 
French girl here with her mother, the cousin of Fontan, and 
she said to me, "En Amerique il ne faut pas etre catholique. 
It's not good to be catholique. The Americans don't like you 
to be catholique. It's like the dry law." I said to her, "What 
you going to be? Heh? It's better to be catholique if you're 
catholique." But she said, "No, it isn't any good to be catho- 
lique in America." But I think it's better to be catholique if 
you are. Ce n'est pas bon de changer sa religion. My God, 

'You go to the mass here?' 

'No, I don't go in America, only sometimes in a long while. 
Mais je reste catholique. It's no good to change the religion/ 

'On dit que Schmidt est catholique,' Fontan said. 

'On dit, mais on ne sait jamais,' Madame Fontan said^ 'I 
don't think Schmidt is catholique. There's not many catho- 
lique in America.' 

'We are catholique,' I said. 

'Sure, but you live in France,' Madame Fontan said. 'Je 
ne crois pas que Schmidt est catholique. Did he ever live in 

'Les Polacks sont catholiques,' Fontan said. 

'That's true,' Madame Fontan said. 'They go to church, 
then they fight with knives all the way home and kill each 
other all day Sunday. But they're not real catholiques. 
They're Polack catholiques.' 

"All catholiques are the same,' Fontan said. 'One catho- 
lique is like another.' 

'I don't believe Schmidt is catholique,' Madame Fontan 
said. 'That's awful funny if he's catholique. Moi, je ne 
crois pas.' 

'II est catholique,' I said. 

'Schmidt is catholique,' Madame Fontan mused. 'I 
wouldn't have believed it. My Gad, il est catholique.' 

'Marie va chercher de la biere,' Fontan said. 'Monsieur a 
soif - moi aussi.' 


'Yes, all right/ Madame Fontan said from the next room. 
She went downstairs and we heard the stairs creaking. Andre 
sat reading in the corner. Fontan and I sat at the table, and 
he poured the beer from the last bottle into our two glasses, 
leaving a little in the bottom. 

'C'est un bon pays pour la chasse/ Fontan said. 'J'aime 
beaucoup shooter les canards.' 

'Mais il y a tres bonne chasse aussi en France/ I said. 

'C'est vrai/ Fontan said. 'Nous avons beaucoup de gibier 

Madame Fontan came up the stairs with the beer bottles in 
her hands. 'II est catholique/ she said. 'My God, Schmidt 
est catholique.' 

'You think he'll be the President?' Fontan asked. 

'No/ I said. 

The next afternoon I drove out to Fontan's, through the 
shade of the town, then along the dusty road, turning up the 
side road and leaving the car beside the fence. It was another 
hot day. Madame Fontan came to the back door. She 
looked like Mrs. Santa Glaus, clean and rosy-faced and 
white-haired, and waddling when she walked. 

'My God, hello/ she said. 'It's hot, my God.' She went 
back into the house to get some beer. I sat on the back porch 
and looked through the screen and the leaves of the tree at the 
heat and, away off, the mountains. There were furrowed 
brown mountains, and above them three peaks and a glacier 
with snow that you could see through the trees. The snow 
looked very white and pure and unreal. Madame Fontan 
came out and put down the bottles on the table. 

'What you see out there?' 

'The snow.' 

'C'est joli, la neige.' 

'Have a glass, too. 5 

'All right.' 

She sat down on a chair beside me. 'Schmidt/ she said. 'If 


he's the President, you think we get the wine and beer all 

'Sure,' I said. 'Trust Schmidt.' 

'Already we paid seven hundred fifty-five dollars in fines 
when they arrested Fontan. Twice the police arrested us and 
once the governments. All the money we made all the time 
Fontan worked in the mines and I did washing. We paid it 
all. They put Fontan in jail. II n'a jamais fait de mal a 

'He's a good man,' I said. 'It's a crime.' 

'We don't charge too much money. The wine one dollar a 
litre. The beer ten cents a bottle. We never sell the beer 
before it's good. Lots of places they sell the beer right away 
when they make it, and then it gives everybody a headache. 
What's the matter with that? They put Fontan in jail and 
they take seven hundred fifty-five dollars.' * 

'It's wicked,' I said. 'Where is Fontan?' 

'He stays with the wine. He has to watch it now to catch 
it just right,' she smiled. She did not think about the money 
any more. ' Vous savez, il cst crazy pour le vin. Last night he 
brought a little bit home with him, what you drank, and a 
little bit of the new. The last new. It ain't ready yet, but he 
drank a little bit, and this morning he put a little bit in his 
coffee. Dans son cafe, vous savez? II est crazy pour le vin! 
II est comme $a; Son pays est comme a. Where I live in the 
north they don't drink any wine. Everbody drinks beer. By 
where we lived there was a big brewery right near us. When 
I was a little girl I didn't like the smell of the hops in the 
carts. Nor in the fields. Je n'aime pas les houblons. No, my 
God, not a bit. The man that owns the brewery said to me 
and my sister to go to the brewery and drink the beer, and 
then we'd like the hops. That's true. Then we liked them all 
right. He had them give us the beer. We liked them all 
right then. But Fontan, il est crazy pour le vin. One time he 
killed a jack-rabbit and he wanted me to cook it with a sauce 
with wine, make a black sauce with wine and butter and 


mushrooms and onion and everything in it, for the jack. 
My God, I make the sauce all right, and he eat it all and 
said, "La sauce est mcilleure que le jack." Dans son pays 
c'est comme $a. II y a beaucoup de gibier et de vin. Moi, 
j'aime les pommes de terre, le saucisson, et la biere. C'est 
bon, la biere. C'est tres bon pour la sante.' 

'It's good,' I said. 'It and wine too.' 

'You're like Fontan. But there was a thing here that I 
never saw. I don't think you've ever seen it either. There 
were Americans came here and they put whisky in the 

'No/ I said. 

'Oui. My God, yes, that's true. Et aussi une femme qui a 
vomissur la table!' 


'C'est vrai. Elle a vomis sur la table. Et apres elle a vomis 
dans ses shoes. And afterward they come back and say they 
want to come again and have another party the next 
Saturday, and I say no, my God, no! When they came I 
locked the door.' 

'They're bad when they're drunk.' 

'In the winter-time when the boys go to the dance they 
come in the cars and wait outside and say to Fontan, "Hey, 
Sam, sell us a bottle wine," or they buy the beer, and then 
they take the moonshine out of their pockets in a bottle and 
pour it in the beer and drink it. My God, that's the first time 
I ever saw that in my life. They put whisky in the beer. My 
God, I don't understand tkatl* 

'They want to get sick, so they'll know they're drunk.' 

'One time a fellow comes here came to me and said he 
wanted me to cook them a big supper and they drink one two 
bottles of wine, and their girls come too, and then they go to 
the dance. All right, I said. So I made a big supper, and 
when they come already they drank a lot. Then they put 
whisky in the wine. My God, yes. I said to Fontan, "On va 
etremalade!" "Oui," il dit. Then these girls were sick, nice 


girls, too, all-right girls. They were sick right at the table. 
Fontan tried to take them by the arm and show them where 
they could be sick all right in the cabinet, but the fellows 
said no, they were all right right there at the table. 3 

Fontan had,come in. 'When they come again I locked the 
door. "No," I said. "Not for hundred fifty dollars." My 
God, no.' 

'There is a word for such people when they do like that, in 
French, 3 Fontan said. He stood looking very old and tired 
from the heat. 

'What? 3 

'Cochon,' he said delicately, hesitating to use such a strong 
word. 'They were like the cochon. C 3 est un mot tres fort, 3 
he apologized, 'mais vomir sur la table - 3 he shook his head 

'Cochons, 3 I said. 'That's what they are cochons. 
Salauds. 3 

The grossness of the words was distasteful to Fontan. He 
was glad to speak of something else. 

'II y a des gens tres gentils, trs sensibles, qui viennent 
aussi, 3 he said. 'There are officers from the fort. Very nice 
men. Good fellas. Everybody that was ever in France they 
want to come and drink wine. They like wine all right. 3 

'There was one man, 3 Madame Fontan said, 'and his wife 
never lets him get out. So he tells her he's tired, and goes to 
bed, and when she goes to the show he comes straight down 
here, sometimes in his pyjamas with just a coat over them. 
"Maria, some beer, 33 he says, "for God's sake. 33 He sits in his 
pyjamas and drinks the beer, and then he goes up to the fort 
and gets back in bed before his wife comes home from the 
show. 3 

'G'eSt un original, 3 Fontan said, 'mais vraiment gentil. 
He's a nice fella. 3 

'My God, yes, nice fella all right, 3 Madame Fontan said. 
c He 3 s always in bed when his wife gets back from the show/ 

'I have to go away to-morrow, 3 I said. To the Crow 


Reservation. We go there for the opening of the prairie- 
chicken season.' 

'Yes? You come back here before you go away. You come 
back here all right?' 


'Then the wine will be done,' Fontan said. 'We'll drink a 
bottle together.' 

'Three bottles/ Madame Fontan said. 

Til be back,' I said. 

'We count on you/ Fontan said. 

'Good night/ I said. 

We got in early in the afternoon from the shooting-trip. 
We had been up that morning since five o'clock. The day 
before we had had good shooting, but that morning we had 
not seen a prairie-chicken. Riding in the open car, we were 
very hot and we stopped to eat our lunch out of the sun, under 
a tree beside the road. The sun was high and the patch of 
shade was very small. We ate sandwiches and crackers with 
sandwich filling on them, and were thirsty and tired, and glad 
when we finally were out and on the main road back to town. 
We came up behind a prairie-dog town and stopped the car 
to shoot at the prairie-dogs with the pistol. We shot two, but 
then stopped, because the bullets that missed glanced off the 
rocks and the dirt, and sung off across the fields, and beyond 
the fields there were some trees along a watercourse, with a 
house, and we did not want to get in trouble from stray bullets 
going toward the house. So we drove on, and finally were on 
the road coming down-hill toward the outlying houses of the 
town. Across the plain we could see the mountains. They 
were blue that day, and the snow on the high mountains 
shone like glass. The summer was ending, but the new snow 
had not yet come to stay on the high mountains; there was 
only the old sun-melted snow and the ice, and from a long 
way away it shone very brightly. 

We wanted something cool and some shade. We were sun- 


burned and our lips blistered from the sun and alkali dust. 
We turned up the side road to Fontan' s, stopped the car out- 
side the house, and went in. It was cool inside the dining- 
room. Madame Fontan was alone. 

'Only two bottles beer, 5 she said. 'It's all gone. The new 
is no good yet.' 

I gave her some birds. 'That's good/ she said. 'All right. 
Thanks. That's good.' She went out to put the birds away 
where it was cooler. When we finished the beer I stood up. 
'We have to go,' I said. 

'You come back to-night all right? Fontan he's going to 
have the wine.' 

'We'll come back before we go away.' 

'You go away?' 

'Yes. We have to leave in the morning.' 

'That's too bad you go away. You come to-night. Fontan 
will have the wine. We'll make a fete before you go.' 

'We'll come before we go.' 

But that afternoon there were telegrams to send, the car to 
be gone over a tyre had been cut by a stone and needed 
vulcanizing and, without the car, I walked into the town, 
doing things that had to be done before we could go. When it 
was supper-time I was too tired to go out. We did not 
want a foreign language. All we wanted was to go early to 

As I lay in bed before I went to sleep, with all the things of 
the summer piled around ready to be packed, the windows 
open and the air coming in cool from the mountains, I 
thought it was a shame not to have gone to Fontan's but 
in a little while I was asleep. The next day we were busy all 
morning packing and ending the summer. We had lunch 
and were ready to start by two o'clock. 

'We must go and say good-bye to the Fontans,' I said. 

'Yes, we must. 5 

'I'm afraid they expected us last night. 5 

'I suppose we could have gone. 5 


'I wish we'd gone.' 

We said good-bye to the man at the desk at the hotel, and 
to Larry and our other friends in the town, and then drove 
out to Fontan's. Both Monsieur and Madame were there. 
They were glad to see us. Fontan looked old and tired. 

'We thought you would come last night/ Madame Fontan 
said. 'Fontan had three bottles of wine. When you did not 
come he drank it all up.' 

'We can only stay a minute,' I said. 'We just came to say 
good-bye. We wanted to come last night. We intended to 
come, but we were too tired after the trip.' 

'Go get some wine,' Fontan said. 

'There is no wine. You drank it all up.' 

Fontan looked very upset. 

'J'll go get some, 5 he said. Til just be gone a few minutes. 
I drank it up last night. We had it for you.' 

'I knew you were tired. "My God," I said, "they're too 
tired all right to come",' Madame Fontan said. 'Go get some 
wine, Fontan.' 

Til take you in the car,' I said. 

'All right/ Fontan said. 'That way we'll go faster.' 

We drove down the road in. the motor-car and turned up a 
side road about a mile away. 

'You'll like that wine/ Fontan said. 'It's come out well. 
You can drink it for supper to-night. 5 

We stopped in front of a frame house. Fontan knocked on 
the door. There was no answer. We went around to the 
back. The back door was locked too. There were empty tin 
cans around the back door. We looked in the window. 
There was nobody inside. The kitchen was dirty and sloppy, 
but all the doors and windows were tight shut.' 

'That son of a bitch. Where is she gone out?' Fontan said. 
He was desperate. 

'I know where I can get a key/ he said. 'You stay here. 5 
I watched him go down to the next house down the road, 
knock on the door, talk to the woman who came out, and 


finally come back. He had a key. We tried it on the front 
door and the back, but it wouldn't work. 

'That son of a bitch,' Fontan said. 'She's gone away some- 

Looking through the window I could see where the wine 
was stored. Close to the window you could smell the inside 
of the house. It smelled sweet and sickish like an Indian 
house. Suddenly Fontan took a loose board and commenced 
digging at the earth beside the back door. 

'I can get in,' he said. 'Son of a bitch, I can get in.' 

There was a man in the back yard of the next house doing 
something to one of the front wheels of an old Ford. 

'You better not/ I said. 'That man will see you. He's 

Fontan straightened up. 'We'll try the key once more,Mie 
said. We tried the key and it did not work. It turned half- 
way in either direction. 

'We can't get in,' I said. 'We better go back.' 

Til dig up the back,' Fontan offered. 

'No, I wouldn't let you take the chance.' 

Til do it.' 

'No,' I said. 'That man would see. Then they would 
seize it.' 

We went out to the car and drove back to Fontan's, 
stopping on the way to leave the key. Fontan did not say 
anything but swear in English. He was incoherent and 
crushed. We went in the house. 

'That son of a bitch!' he said. 'We couldn't get the wine. 
My own wine that I made.' 

All the happiness went from Madame Fontan's face. 
Fontan sat down in a corner with his head in his hands. 

'We must go,' I said. 'It doesn't make any difference about 
the wine. You drink to us when we're gone.' 

'Where did that crazy go?' Madame Fontan asked. 

'I don't know/ Fontan said. 'I don't know where she go. 
Now you go away without any wine. 5 


That's all right/ I said. 

'That's no good, 5 Madame Fontan said. She shook her 

'We have to go,' I said. Good-bye and good luck. Thank 
you for the fine times.' 

Fontan shook his head. He was disgraced. Madame 
Fontan looked sad. 

'Don't feel bad about the wine,' I said. 

'He wanted you to drink his wine,' Madame Fontan said. 
'You can come back next year?' 

'No. Maybe the year after/ 

'You see? 5 Fontan said to her. 

'Good-bye/ I said. 'Don't think about the wine. Drink 
some for us when we're gone.' Fontan shook his head. He 
did iiot smile. He knew when he was ruined. 

'That son of a bitch/ Fontan said to himself. 

'Last night he had three bottles/ Madame Fontan said to 
comfort him. He shook his head. 

'Good-bye/ he said. 

Madame Fontan had tears in her eyes. 

'Good-bye/ she said. She felt badly for Fontan. 

'Good-bye/ we said. We all felt very badly. They stood in 
the doorway and we got in, and I started the motor. We 
waved. They stood together sadly on the porch. Fontan 
looked very old, and Madame Fontan looked sad. She waved 
to us and Fontan went in the house. We turned up the road. 

'They felt so badly. Fontan felt terribly.' 

c We ought to have gone last night. 5 

'Yes, we ought to have.' 

We were through the town and out on the smooth road 
beyond ; with the stubble of grain-fields on each side and the 
mountains off to the right. It looked like Spain, but it was 

'I hope they have a lot of good luck.' 

'They won't/ I said, 'and Schmidt won't be President 


The cement road stopped. The road was gravelled now 
and we left the plain and started up between two foot-hills; 
the road in a curve and commencing to climb. The soil of 
the hills was red, the sage grew in grey clumps, and as the 
road rose we could see across the hills and away across the 
plain of the valley to the mountains. They were farther 
away now and they looked more like Spain than ever. The 
road curved and climbed again, and ahead there were some 
grouse dusting in the road. They flew as we came toward 
them, their wings beating fast, then sailing in long slants, and 
lit on the hill-side below. 

They are so big and lovely. They're bigger than European 

'It's a fine country for la chasse, Fontan says. 5 

'And when the chasse is gone?' 

They'll be dead then.' 

The boy won't.' 

There's nothing to prove he won't be,' I said. 

'We ought to have gone last night.' 

'Oh, yes,' I said. 'We ought to have gone.' 


THEY brought them in around midnight and then, all night 
long, everyone along the corridor heard the Russian. 

'Where is he shot? 5 Mr. Frazer asked the night nurse. 

'In the thigh, I think.' 

'What about the other one? 5 

'Oh, he's going to die, I'm afraid.' 

'Where is he shot?' 

'Twice in the abdomen. They only found one of the 
bullets. 5 

They were both beet workers, a Mexican and a Russian, 
and they were sitting drinking coffee in an all-night restaur- 
ant when someone came in the door and started shooting 
at the Mexican. The Russian crawled under a table and was 
hit, finally, by a stray shot fired at the Mexican as he lay 
on the floor with two bullets in his abdomen. That was what 
the paper said. 

The Mexican told the police he had no idea who shot him. 
He believed it to be an accident. 

'An accident that he fired eight shots at you and hit you 
twice, there?' 

'Si, serior,' said the Mexican, who was named Cayetano 

'An accident that he hit me at all, the cabron, 5 he said to 
the interpreter. 

'What does he say?' asked the detective sergeant, looking 
across the bed at the interpreter. 

'He says it was an accident.' 

'Tell him to tell the truth, that he is going to die,' the 
detective said. 

'Na,' said Cayetano. 'But tell him that I feel very sick and 
would prefer not to talk so much. 5 



'He says that he is telling the truth,' the interpreter said. 
Then, speaking confidently, to the detective, 'He don't know 
who shot him. They shot him in the back.' 

'Yes, 5 said the detective. C I understand that, but why did 
the bullets all go in the front?' 

'Maybe he is spinning around,' said the interpreter. 

'Listen,' said the detective, shaking his finger almost at 
Cayetano's nose, which projected, waxen yellow, from his 
dead-man's face in which his eyes were alive as a hawk's, 
'I don't give a damn who shot you, but I've got to clear 
this thing up. Don't you want the man who shot you to be 
punished? Tell him that,' he said to the interpreter. 

'He says to tell who shot you.' 

'Mandarlo al carajo,' said Cayetano, who was very tired. 

'He says he never saw the fellow at all,' the interpreter s^id. 
*I tell you straight they shot him in the back.' 

'Ask him who shot the Russian.' 

'Poor Russian,' said Cayetano. 'He was on the floor with 
his head enveloped in his arms. He started to give cries when 
they shoot him and he is giving cries ever since. Poor 

'He says some fellow that he doesn't know. Maybe the 
same fellow that shot him.' 

'Listen,' the detective said. This isn't Chicago. You're 
not a gangster. You don't have to act like a moving picture. 
It's all right to tell who shot you. Anybody would tell who 
shot them. That's all right to do. Suppose you don't tell 
who he is and he shoots somebody else. Suppose he shoots a 
woman or a child. You can't let him get away with that. 
You tell him,' he said to Mr. Frazer. 'I don't trust that damn 

'I am very reliable,' the interpreter said. Cayetano looked 
at Mr. Frazer. 

'Listen, amigo,' said Mr. Frazer. 'The policeman says that 
we are not in Chicago but in Hailey, Montana. You are not 
a bandit and this has nothing to do with the cinema. 5 


'I believe him/ said Cayetano softly. 'Ya lo creo.' 

'One can, with honour, denounce one's assailant. Every 
one does it here, he says. He says what happens if after 
shooting you, this man shoots a woman or a child? 5 

'I am not married,' Cayetano said. 

c He says any woman, any child. 3 

'The man is not crazy,' Cayetano said. 

'He says you should denounce him,' Mr. Frazer finished. 

'Thank you/ Cayetano said. 'You are of the great trans- 
lators. I speak English, but badly. I understand it all right. 
How did you break your leg?' 

'A fall off ahorse.' 

'What bad luck. I am very sorry. Does it hurt much?' 

'Not now. At first, yes.' 

'Listen, amigo/ Cayetano began, 'I am very weak. You 
will pardon me. Also I have much pain; enough pain. It 
is very possible that I die. Please get this policeman out of 
here because I am very tired.' He made as though to roll to 
one side; then held himself still. 

'I told him everything exactly as you said and he said to 
tell you, truly, that he doesn't know who shot him and that 
he is very weak and wishes you would question him later on/ 
Mr. Frazer said. 

'He'll probably be dead later on.' 

'That's quite possible.' 

'That's why I want to question him now.' 

'Somebody shot him in the back, I tell you/ the interpreter 

'Oh, for Chrisake/ the detective sergeant said, and put his 
notebook in his pocket. 

Outside in the corridor the detective sergeant stood with 
the interpreter beside Mr. Frazer's wheeled chair. 

'I suppose you think somebody shot him in the back too?' 
'Yes/ Frazer said. 'Somebody shot him in the back. 
What's it to you?' 


'Don't get sore/ the sergeant said. 'I wish I could talk 
spick. 5 

'Why don't you learn?' 

'You don't have to get sore. I don't get any fun out of 
asking that spick question. If I could talk spick it would be 

'You don't need to talk Spanish/ the interpreter said. Tm 
a very reliable interpreter/ 

'Oh, for Chrisake,' the sergeant said. 'Well, so long. I'll 
come up and see you.' 

'Thanks. I'm always in.' 

'I guess you are all right. That was bad luck all right. 
Plenty bad luck.' 

'It's coming along good now since he spliced the bone.' 

'Yes, but it's a long time. A long, long time.' 

'Don't let anybody shoot you in the back.' 

'That's right,' he said. 'That's right. Well, I'm glad you're 
not sore.' 

'So long,' said Mr. Frazer. 

Mr. Frazer did not see Cayctano again for a long time, but 
each morning Sister Cecilia brought news of him. He was so 
uncomplaining she said and he was very bad now. He had 
peritonitis and they thought he could not live. Poor Caye- 
tano, she said. He had such beautiful hands and such a fine 
face and he never complains. The odour, now, was really 
terrific. He would point toward his nose with one finger and 
smile and shake his head, she said. He felt badly about the 
odour. It embarrassed him, Sister Cecilia said. Oh, he was 
such a fine patient. He always smiled. He wouldn't go to 
confession to Father but he promised to say his prayers, and 
not a Mexican had been to see him since he had been brought 
in. The Russian was going out at the end of the week. I 
could never feel anything about the Russian, Sister Cecilia 
said. Poor fellow, he suffered too. It was a greased bullet 
and dirty and the wound infected, but he made so much 


noise and then I always like the bad ones. That Cayetano, 
he's a bad one. Oh, he must really be a bad one, a thoroughly 
bad one, he's so fine and delicately made and he's never done 
any work with his hands. He's not a beet worker. I know he's 
not a beet worker. His hands are as smooth and not a callous 
on them. I know he's a bad one of some sort. I'm going 
down and pray for him now. Poor Gayetano, he's having a 
dreadful time and he doesn't make a sound. What did they 
have to shoot him for? Oh, that poor Cayetano! I'm going 
right down and pray for him. 

She went right down and prayed for him. 

In that hospital a radio did not work very well until it was 
dusk. They said it was because there was so much ore in the 
ground or something about the mountains, but anyway it did 
not work well at all until it began to get dark outside; but 
all night it worked beautifully and when one station stopped 
you could go farther west and pick up another. The last 
one that you could get was Seattle, Washington, and due to 
the difference in time, when they signed off at four o'clock 
in the morning it was five o'clock in the morning in the hos- 
pital; and at six o'clock you could get the morning revellers in 
Minneapolis. That was on account of the difference in time, 
too, and Mr. Frazer used to like to think of the morning 
revellers arriving at the studio and picture how they would 
look getting off a street car before daylight in the morning 
carrying their instruments. Maybe that was wrong and they 
kept their instruments at the place they revelled, but he 
always pictured them with their instruments. He had never 
been in Minneapolis and believed he probably would never 
go there, but he knew what it looked like that early in the 

Out of the window of the hospital you could see a field with 
tumbleweed coming out of the snow, and a bare clay butte. 
One morning the doctor wanted to show Mr. Frazer two 
pheasants that were out there in the snow, and pulling the 


bed toward the window, the reading light fell off the iron 
bedstead and hit Mr. Frazer on the head. This does not 
sound so funny now but it was very funny then. Everyone 
was looking out the window, and the doctor, who was a most 
excellent doctor, was pointing at the pleasants and pulling 
the bed toward the window, and then, just as in a comic 
section, Mr. Frazer was knocked out by the leaded base of 
the lamp hitting the top of his head. It seemed the antithesis 
of healing or whatever people were in the hospital for, and 
everyone thought it was very funny, as a joke on Mr. Frazer 
and on the doctor. Everything is much simpler in a hospital, 
including the jokes. 

From the other window, if the bed was turned, you could 
see the town, with a little smoke above it, and the Dawson 
mountains looking like real mountains with the winter snow 
on them. Those were the two views since the wheeled chair 
had proved to be premature. It is really best to be in bed if 
you arc in a hospital; since two views, with time to observe 
them, from a room the temperature of which you control, are 
much better than any number of views seen for a few 
minutes from hot, empty rooms that are waiting for someone 
else, or just abandoned, which you are wheeled in and out of. 
If you stay long enough in a room the view, whatever it is, 
acquires a great value and becomes very important and you 
would not change it, not even by a different angle. Just as, 
with the radio, there are certain things that you become 
fond of, and you welcome them and resent the new things. 
The best tunes they had that winter were 'Sing Something 
Simple', 'Singsong Girl', and 'Little White Lies'. No other 
tunes were as satisfactory, Mr. Frazer felt. 'Betty Co-ed' 
was a good tune too, but the parody of the words which came 
unavoidably into Mr. Frazer's mind, grew so steadily and 
increasingly obscene that there being no one to appreciate it, 
he finally abandoned it and let the song go back to football. 

About nine o'clock in the morning they would start using 
the X-ray machine, and then the radio, which, by then, was 


only getting Hailey, became useless. Many people in Hailey 
who owned radios protested about the hospital's X-ray 
machine which ruihed their morning reception, but there 
was never any action taken, although many felt it was a 
shame the hospital could not use their machine at a time 
when people were not using their radios. 

About the time when it became necessary to turn off the 
radio Sister Cecilia came in. 

'How's Cayetano, Sister Cecilia?' Mr. Frazer asked. 

c Oh, he's very bad.' 

'Is he out of his head?' 

'No, but I'm afraid he's going to die.' 

'How are you?' 

'I'm very worried about him, and do you know that 
absolutely no one has come to see him? He could die just 
like a dog for all those Mexicans care. They're really 

'Do you want to come up and hear the game this after- 

'Oh, no,' she said. 'I'd be too excited. I'll be in the chapel 

'We ought to be able to hear it pretty well,' Mr. Frazer 
said. 'They're playing out on the coast and the difference in 
time will bring it late enough so we can get it all right. 5 

'Oh, no. I couldn't do it. The world series nearly finished 
me. When the Athletics were at bat I was praying right out 
loud: "Oh, Lord, direct their batting eyes! Oh, Lord, may 
he hit one! Oh, Lord, may he hit safely!" Then when they 
filled the bases in the third game, you remember, it was too 
much for me. "Oh, Lord, may he hit it out of the lot! Oh, 
Lord, may he drive it clean over the fence!" Then you know 
when the Cardinals would come to bat it was simply dread- 
ful. "Oh, Lord, may they not see it! Oh, Lord, don't let 
them even catch a glimpse of it. Oh, Lord, may they fan!" 
And this game is even worse. It's Notre Dame. Our Lady. 
No, Fll be in the chapel. For Our Lady. They're playing 


for Our Lady. I wish you'd write something sometime for 
Our Lady. You could do it. You know you could do it, 
Mr. Frazer.' 

'I don't know anything about her that I could write. It's 
mostly been written already/ Mr. Frazer said. 'You 
wouldn't like the way I write. She wouldn't care for it 

'You'll write about her sometime,' Sister said. 'I know 
you will. You must write about Our Lady.' 

'You'd better come up and hear the game.' 

'It would be too much for me. No, I'll be in the chapel 
doing what I can.' 

That afternoon they had been playing about five minutes 
when a probationer came into the room and said, 'Sister 
Cecilia wants to know how the game is going?' 

'Tell her they have a touchdown already.' 

In a little while the probationer came into die room again. 

'Tell her they're playing them off their feet,' Mr. Frazer said. 

A little later he rang the ,bell for the nurse who was on 
floor duty. 'Would you mind going down to the chapel or 
sending word to Sister Cecilia that Notre Dame has them 
fourteen to nothing at die end of the first quarter and that 
it's all right. She can stop praying.' 

In a few minutes Sister Cecilia came into the room. She 
was very excited. 'What does fourteen to nothing mean? I 
don't know anything about this game. That's a nice safe lead 
in baseball. But I don't know anything about football. It 
may not mean a thing. I'm going right back down to the 
chapel and pray until it's finished.' 

'They have them beaten/ Frazer said. 'I promise you. 
Stay and listen with me.' 

'No. No. No. No. No. No. No,' she said. 'I'm going 
right down to the chapel to pray. 3 

Mr. Frazer sent down word whenever Notre Dame scored, 
and finally, when it had been dark a long time, the final 


How's Sister Cecilia?' 
'They're all at chapel/ she said. 

The next morning Sister Cecilia came in. She was very 
pleased and confident. 

'I knew they couldn't beat Our Lady,' she said. 'They 
couldn't. Cayetano's better too. He's much better. He's 
going to have visitors. He can't see them yet, but they are 
going to come and that will make him feel better and know 
he's not forgotten by his own people. I went down and saw 
that O'Brien boy at Police Headquarters and told him that 
he's got to send some Mexicans up to see poor Cayetano. 
He's going to send some this afternoon. Then that poor man 
will feel better. It's wicked the way no one has come to see 

TJiat afternoon about five o'clock three Mexicans came 
into the room. 

'Can one?' asked the biggest one, who had very thick lips 
and was quite fat. 

'Why not?' Mr. Frazer answered. 'Sit down, gentlemen. 
Will you take something?' 

'Many thanks,' said the big one. 

'Thanks,' said the darkest and smallest one. 

'Thanks, no,' said the thin one. 'It mounts to my head. 5 
He tapped his head. 

The nurse brought some glasses. Tlease give them the 
bottle,' Frazer said. 'It is from Red Lodge,' he explained. 

'That of Red Lodge is the best,' said the big one. 'Much 
better than that of Big Timber.' 

'Clearly/ said the smallest one, 'and costs more too.' 

'In Red Lodge it is of all prices,' said the big one. 

'How many tubes has the radio?' asked the one who did 
not drink. 


'Very beautiful,' he said. 'What does it cost?' 

'I don't know, 5 Mr. Frazer said. 'It is rented.' 

'You gentlemen are friends of Cayetano?' 


'No,' said the big one. 'We are friends of he who wounded 

'We were sent here by the police/ the smallest one 

'We have a little place, 5 the big one said. 'He and I,' 
indicating the one who did not drink. 'He has a little place 
too,' indicating the small, dark one. 'The police tell us we 
have to come so we come.' 

'I am very happy you have come.' 

'Equally,' said the big one. 

'Will you have another little cup?' 

'Why not?' said the big one. 

'With your permission,' said the smallest one. 

'Not me,' said the thin one. 'It mounts to my head.' 

'It is very good,' said the smallest one. 

'Why not try some,' Mr. Frazer asked the thin one. 'Let 
a little mount to your head.' 

'Afterwards comes the headache,' said the thin one. 

'Could you not send friends of Cayetano to see him? 5 
Frazer asked. 

'He has no friends.' 

'Every man has friends.' 

'This one, no.' 

'What does he do?' 

'He is a card-player.' 

'Is he good?' 

'I believe it.' 

'From me,' said the smallest one, 'he won one hundred and 
eighty dollars. Now there is no longer one hundred and 
eighty dollars in the world.' 

'From me,' said the thin one, 'he won two hundred and 
eleven dollars. Fix yourself on that figure.' 

'I never played with him,' said the fat one. 

'He must be very rich,' Mr. Frazer suggested, 

'He is poorer than we,' said the little Mexican. 'He has no 
more than the shirt on his back.' 



'And that shirt is of little value now,' Mr. Frazer said. 
'Perforated as it is.' 


'The one who wounded him was a card-player?' 

'No, a beet worker. He has had to leave town.' 

'Fix yourself on this,' said the smallest one. 'He was the 
best guitar player ever in this town. The finest. 5 

'What a shame.' 

"I believe it,' said the biggest one. 'How he could touch the 

'There are no good guitar players left?' 

'Not the shadow of a guitar player.' 

'There is an accordion player who is worth something,' the 
thin man said. 

'There are a few who touch various instruments,' the big 
one said. 'You like music?' 

'How would I not?'- 

'We will come one night with music? You think the sister 
would allow it? She seems very amiable.' 

'I am sure she would permit it when Cayetano is able to 
hear it.' 

'Is she a little crazy?' asked the thin one. 


'That sister.' 

'No/ Mr, Frazer said. 'She is a fine woman of great intel- 
ligence and sympathy.' 

'I distrust all priests, monks, and sisters,' said the thin one. 

'He had bad experiences when a boy,' the smallest one 

'I was acolyte,' the thin one said proudly. 'Now I believe 
in nothing. Neither do I go to mass.' 

'Why? Does it mount to your head?' 

'No,' said the thin one. 'It is alcohol that mounts to my 
head. Religion is the opium of the poor.' 

*I thought marijuana was the opium of the poor,' Frazer 


'Did you ever smoke opium?' the big one asked. 

'No. 5 

'Nor I,' he said. 'It seems it is very bad. One commences 
and cannot stop. It is a vice.' 

'Like religion/ said the thin one. 

'This one,' said the smallest Mexican, 'is very strong 
against religion.' 

'It is necessary to be very strong against something, 5 Mr. 
Frazer said politely. 

'I respect those who have faith even though they are 
ignorant,' the thin one said. 

'Good,' said Mr. Frazer. 

'What can we bring you?' asked the big Mexican. 'Do you 
lack for anything?' 

'I would be glad to buy some beer if there is good beer.' 

'We will bring beer. 5 

'Another copita before you go?' 

'It is very good. 5 

'We are robbing you. 5 

'I can't take it. It^goes to my head. Then I have a bad 
headache and sick at the stomach.' 

'Good-bye, gentlemen.' 

'Good-bye and thanks.' 

They went out and there was supper and then the radio, 
turned to be as quiet as possible and still be heard, and the 
stations finally signing off in this order: Denver, Salt Lake City, 
Los Angeles, and Seattle. Mr. Frazer received no picture of 
Denver from the radio. He could see Denver from the Denver 
Post, and correct the picture from the Rocky Mountain News. 
Nor did he ever have any feel of Salt Lake City or Los Angeles 
from what he heard from those places. All he felt about Salt 
Lake City was that it was clean, but dull, and there were too 
many ballrooms mentioned in too many big hotels for him to 
see Los Angeles. He could not feel it for the ballrooms. But 
Seattle he came to know very well, the taxicab cfompany with 
the big white cabs (each cab equipped with radio itself) he 


rode in every night out to the roadhouse on the Canadian 
side where he followed the course of parties by the musical 
selections they phoned for. He lived in Seattle from two 
o'clock on, each night, hearing the pieces that all the 
different people asked for, and it was as real as Minneapolis, 
where the revellers left their beds each morning to make that 
trip down to the studio. Mr. Frazer grew very fond of 
Seattle, Washington. 

The Mexicans came and brought beer but it was not good 
beer. Mr. Frazer saw them but he did not feel like talking, 
and when they went he knew they would not come again. 
His nerves had become tricky and he disliked seeing people 
while he was in this condition. His nerves went bad at the 
encj of five weeks, and while he was pleased they lasted that 
long yet he resented being forced to make the same experi- 
-ment when he already knew the answer. Mr. Frazer had 
been through this all before. The only thing which was new 
to him was the radio. He played it all night long, turned so 
low he could barely hear it, and he was learning to listen to 
it without thinking. 

Sister Cecilia came into the room about ten o'clock in the 
morning on that day and brought the mail. She was very 
handsome, and Mr. Frazer liked to see her and to hear her 
talk, but the mail, supposedly coming from a different world, 
was important. However, there was nothing in the mail 
of any interest. 

'You look so much better, 5 she said. 'You'll be leaving us 

'Yes,' Mr. Frazer said. 'You look very happy this 

'Oh, I am. This morning I feel as though I might be a 

Mr. Frazer was a little taken aback at this. 

'Yes,' Sister Cecilia went on. 'That's what I want to be. A 


saint. Ever since I was a little girl I've wanted to be a saint. 
When I was a girl I thought if I renounced the world and 
went into the convent I would be a saint. That was what I 
wanted to be and that was what I thought I had to do to be 
one. I expected I would be a saint, I was absolutely sure I 
would be one. For just a moment I thought I was one. I was 
so happy and it seemed so simple and easy. When I awoke 
in the morning I expected I would be a saint, but I wasn't. 
I've never become one. I want so to be one. All I want is to 
be a saint. That is all I've ever wanted. And this morning 
I feel as though I might be one. Oh, I hope I will get to be 

'You'll be one. Everybody gets what they want. That's 
what they always tell me.' 

'I don't know now. When I was a girl it seemecj so 
simple. I knew I would be a saint. Only I believed it took 
time when I found it did not happen suddenly. Now it 
seems almost impossible.' 

Td say you had a good chance.' 

'Do you really think so? No, I don't want just to be 
encouraged. . Don't just encourage me. I want to be a saint. 
I want to be a saint.' 

'Of course you'll be a saint,' Mr. Frazer said. 

'No, probably I won't be. But, oh, if I could only be a 
saint! I'd be perfectly happy.' 

'You're three to one to be a saint.' 

'No, don't encourage me. But, oh, if I could only be a 
saint! If I could only be a saint!' 

'How's your friend Cayetano?' 

'He's going to get well, but he's paralysed. One of the 
bullets hit the big nerve that goes down through his thigh 
and that leg is paralysed. They only found it out when he 
got well enough so that he could move.' 

'Maybe the nerve will regenerate.' 

Tm praying that it will/ Sister Cecilia said 'You ought 
to see him. 5 


'I don't feel like seeing anybody. 3 

'You know you'd like to see him. They could wheel him 
in here.' 
'All right.' 

They wheeled him in, thin, his skin transparent, his hair 
black and needing to be cut, his eyes very laughing, his teeth 
bad when he smiled. 

'Hola, amigo! Que tal?' 

'As you see,' said Mr. Frazer. 'And thou?' 

'Alive and with the leg paralysed.' 

'Bad, 5 Mr. Frazer said. 'But the nerve can regenerate and 
be as good as new.' 

'So they tell me.' 

',What about the pain?' 

'Not now. For a while I was crazy with it in the belly. I 
thought the pain alone would kill me.' 

Sister Cecilia was observing them happily. 

'She tells me you never made a sound,' Mr. Frazer said. 

'So many people in the ward,' the Mexican said deprecat- 
ingly. 'What class of pain do you have?' 

'Big enough. Clearly not as bad as yours. When the nurse 
goes out I cry an hour, two hours. It rests me. My nerves 
are bad now.' 

'You have the radio. If I had a private room and a radio I 
would be crying and yelling all night long.' 

'I doubt it.' 

'Hombre, Si. It's very healthy. But you cannot do it with 
so many people.' 

'At least,' Mr. Frazer said, 'the hands are still good. They 
tell me you make your living with the hands.' 

'And the head/ he said, tapping his forehead, 'But the 
head isn't worth as much.' 

'Three of your countrymen were here.' 

'Sent by the police tc see me. 5 

They brought some beer. 5 


'It probably was bad.' 

'It was bad. 5 

'To-night, sent by the police, they come to serenade me.' 
He laughed, then tapped his stomach. 'I cannot laugh yet. 
As musicians .they are fatal. 3 

'And the one who shot you?' 

'Another fool. I won thirty-eight dollars from him at cards, 
That is not to kill about. 5 

'The three told me you win much money. 5 

'And am poorer than the birds. 5 

'How? 5 

'I am a poor idealist. I am the victim of illusions. 5 He 
laughed, then grinned and tapped his stomach. 'I am a pro- 
fessional gambler but I like to gamble. To really gamble. 
Little gambling is all crooked. For real gambling you need 
luck. I have no luck. 5 

'Never? 5 

'Never. I am completely without luck. Look, this cabron 
who shoots me just now. Can he shoot? No. The first shot he 
fires into nothing. The second is intercepted by a poor 
Russian. That would seem to be luck. What happens? He 
shoots me twice in the belly. He is a lucky man. I have no 
luck. He could not hit a horse if he were holding the stirrup. 
All luck. 5 

'I thought he shot you first and the Russian after.' 

'No, the Russian first, me after. The paper was mistaken. 5 

'Why didn ? t you shoot him? 5 

C I never carry a gun. With my luck, if I carried a gun I 
would be hanged ten times a year. I am a cheap card player, 
only that.' He stopped, then continued. 'When I make a 
sum of money I gamble and when I gamble I lose. I have 
passed at dice for three thousand dollars and crapped out for 
the six. With good dice. More than once. 5 

'Why continue?' 

'If I live long enough the luck wil] change. I have bad luck 
now for fifteen years. If I ever get any good luck I will be 


rich.' He grinned. 'I am a good gambler, really I would 
enjoy being rich.' 

'Do you have bad luck with all games? 5 

'With everything and with women.' He smiled again, 
showing his bad teeth. 



'And what is there to do?' 

'Continue, slowly, and wait for luck to change.' 

'But with women?' 

'No gambler has luck with women. He is too concen- 
trated. He works nights. When he should be with the 
woman. No man who works nights can hold a woman if the 
woman is worth anything.' 

'Ypu are a philosopher.' 

'No, hombre. A gambler of the small towns. One small 
town, then another, another, then a big town, then start over 

'Then shot in the belly.' 

'The first time,' he said. 'That has only happened once.' 

'I tire you talking?' Mr. Frazer suggested. 

'No,' he said. 'I must tire you.' 

'And the leg?' 

'I have no great use for the leg. I am all right with the leg 
or not. I will be able to circulate.' 

'I wish you luck, truly, and with all my heart,' Mr. Frazer 

'Equally,' he said. 'And that the pain stops.' 

'It will not last, certainly. It is passing. It is of no impor- 

'That it passes quickly.' 


That night the Mexicans played the accordion and other 
instruments in Ihe ward and it was cheerful and the noise of 
the inhalations and exhalations of the accordion, and of the 


bells, the traps, and the drum came down the corridor. In 
that ward there was a rodeo rider who had come out of the 
chutes on Midnight on a hot dusty afternoon with the big 
crowd watching, and now, with a broken back, was going to 
learn to work in leather and to cane chairs when he got well 
enough to leave the hospital. There was a carpenter who had 
fallen with a scaffolding and broken both ankles and both 
wrists. He had lit like a cat but without a cat's resiliency. 
They could fix him up so that he could work again but it 
would take a long time. There was a boy from a farm, about 
sixteen years old, with a broken leg that had been badly set and 
was to be rebroken. There was Cayetano Ruiz, a small-town 
gambler with a paralysed leg. Down the corridor Mr. Frazer 
could hear them all laughing and merry with the music made 
by the Mexicans who had been sent by the police. JThe 
Mexicans were having a good time. They came in, very 
excited, to see Mr. Frazer and wanted to know if there was 
anything he wanted them to play, and they came twice more 
to play at night of their own accord. 

The last time they played Mr. Fraser lay in his room with 
the door open and listened to the noisy, bad music and could 
not keep from thinking. When they wanted to know what he 
wished played, he asked for the 'Cucaracha', which has the 
sinister lightness and deftness of so many of the tunes men 
have gone to die to. They played noisily and with emotion. 
The tune was better than most of such tunes, to Mr. Frazer' s 
mind, but the effect was all the same. 

In spite of this introduction of emotion, Mr. Frazer went on 
thinking. Usually he avoided thinking all he could, except 
when he was writing, but now he was thinking about those 
who were playing and what the little one had said. 

Religion is the opium of the people. He believed that, that 
dyspeptic little joint-keeper. Yes, and music is the opium of 
the people. Old mount-to-the-head hadn't thought of that. 
And now economics is the opium of the people; along with 
patriotism the opium of the people in Italy and Germany. 


What about sexual intercourse; was that an opium of the 
people? Of some of the people. Of some of the best of the 
people. But drink was a sovereign opium of the people, oh, 
an excellent opium. Although some prefer the radio, another 
opium of the people, a cheap one he had just been using. 
Along with these went gambling, an opium of the people if 
there ever was one, one of the oldest. Ambition was another^ 
an opium of the people, along with a belief in any new form 
of government. What you wanted was the minimum of 
government, always less government. Liberty, what we 
believed in, now the name of a MacFadden publication. We 
believed in that although they had not found a new name for 
it yet. But what was the real one? What was the real, the 
actual, opium of the people? He knew it very well. It was 
gonf just a little way around the corner in that well-lighted 
part of his mind that was there after two or more drinks in 
the evening; that he knew was there (it was not really there 
of course). What was it? He knew very well. What was it? 
Of course; bread was the opium of the people. Would he 
remember that and would it make sense in the daylight? 
Bread is the opium of the people. 

'Listen, 5 Mr. Frazer said to the nurse when she came. 'Get 
that little thin Mexican in here, will you, please?' 

'How do you like it?' the Mexican said at the door. 

'Very much.' 

'It is a historic tune,' the Mexican said. 'It is the tune of 
the real revolution.' 

'Listen,' said Mr. Frazer. 'Why should the people be 
operated on without an anaesthetic?' 

'I do not understand.' 

'Why are not all the opiums of the people good? What da 
you want to do with the people?' 

'They should be rescued from ignorance.' 

'Don't talk nonsense. Education is an opium of the people. 
You ought to'Tcnow thaK You've had a little.' 

'You do not believe in education?' 


'No,' said Mr. Frazer. 'In knowledge, yes.' 

'I do not follow you.' 

'Many times I do not follow myself with pleasure.' 

'You want to hear the "Cucaracha" another time?' asked 
the Mexican worriedly. 

'Yes,' said Mr. Frazer. 'Play the "Cucaracha" another 
time. It's better than the radio.' 

Revolution, Mr. Frazer thought, is no opium. Revolution 
is a catharsis; an ecstasy which can only be prolonged by 
tyranny. The opiums are for before and for after. He was 
thinking well, a little too well. 

They would go now in a little while, he thought, and they 
would take the 'Cucaracha' with them. Then he would have 
a little spot of the giant killer and play the radio, you could 
play the radio so that you could hardly hear it. 


THERE had been a sign to detour in the centrq of the main 
street of this town, but cars had obviously gone through, so, 
believing it was some repair which had been completed, 
Nicholas Adams drove on through the town along the empty, 
brick-paved street, stopped by traffic lights that flashed on 
and off on this traffic-less Sunday, and would be gone next 
year when the payments on the system were not met; on 
under the heavy trees of the small town that are a part of 
your heart if it is your town and you have walked under 
them, but that are only too heavy, that shut out the sun and 
that flampen the houses for a stranger; out past the last house 
and on to the highway that rose and fell straight away ahead 
with banks of red dirt^ sliced cleanly away and the second- 
growth timber on both sides. It was not his country but it 
was the middle of fall and all of this country was good to drive 
through and to see. The cotton was picked and in the 
clearings there were patches of corn, some cut with streaks 
of red sorghum, and, driving easily, his son asleep on the 
seat by his side, the day's run made, knowing the town he 
would reach for the night, Nick noticed which cornfields had 
soy beans or peas in them, how the thickets and the cut-over 
land lay, where the cabins and houses were in relation to the 
fields and the thickets; hunting the country in his mind as he 
went by; sizing up each clearing as to feed and cover and 
figuring where you would find a covey and which way they 
would fly. 

In shooting quail you must not get between them and 
their habitual cover, once the dogs have found them, or when 
they flush they will come pouring at you, some rising steep, 
some skimming by your ears, whirring into a size you have 
never seen theril in the ah; as they pass, the only way being to 
turn and take them over your shoulder as they go, before they 



set their wings and angle down into the thicket. Hunting this 
country for quail as his father taught him, Nicholas Adams 
started thinking about his father. When he first thought 
about him it was always the eyes. The big frame, the quick 
movements, the wide shoulders, the hooked, hawk nose, the 
beard that covered the weak chin, you never thought 
about it was always the eyes. They were protected in his 
head by the formation of the brows; set deep as though a 
special protection had been devised for some very valuable 
instrument. They saw much farther and much quicker than 
the human eye sees and they were the great gift his father 
had. His father saw as a big-horn ram or as an eagle sees,, 

He would be standing with his father on one shore of the 
lake, his own eyes were very good then, and his father \^ould 
say, 'They've run up the flag.' Nick could not see the flag or 
the flag pole. 'There,' his father would say, 'it's your sister 
Dorothy. She's got the flag up and she's walking out on to 
the dock.' 

Nick would look across the lake and he could see the long 
wooded shore-line, the higher timber behind, the point that 
guarded the bay, the clear hills of the farm and the white of 
their cottage in the trees, but he could not see any flag pole, or 
any dock, only the white of the beach and the curve of the 

'Can you see the sheep on the hill-side toward the point?' 


They were a whitish patch on the grey-green of the hill. 

'I can count them,' his father said. 

Like all men with a faculty that surpasses human require- 
ments, his father was very nervous. Then, too, he was 
sentimental, and, like most sentimental people, he was both 
cruel and abused. Also, he had much bad luck, and it was 
not all of it his own. HeJiad died in a trap that he had helped 
only a little to set, and they had >11 betray&l him in their 
various ways before he died. All sentimental people are 


betrayed so many times. Nick could not write about him yet, 
although he would, later, but the quail country made him 
remember him as he was when Nick was a boy and he was 
very grateful to him for two things: fishing and shooting. 
His father was as sound on those two things as he was 
unsound on sex, for instance, and Nick was glad that it had 
been that way; for someone has to give you your first gun or 
the opportunity to get it and use it, and you have to live 
where there is game or fish if you are to learn about them, 
and now, at thirty-eight, he loved to fish and to shoot exactly 
as much as when he first had gone with his father. It was a 
passion that had never slackened and he was very grateful to 
his father for bringing him to know it. 

While for the other, that his father was not sound about, all 
the equipment you will ever have is provided and each man 
learns all there is for him to know about it without advice; 
and it makes no difference where you live. He remembered 
very clearly the only two pieces of information his father had 
given him about that. Once when they were out shooting 
together Nick shot a red squirrel out of a hemlock tree. The 
squirrel fell, wounded, and when Nick picked him up bit the 
boy clean through the ball of the thumb. 

'The dirty little bugger,' Nick said and smacked the 
squirrel's head against the tree. 'Look how he bit me. 3 

His father looked and said, 'Suck it out clean and put 
some iodine on when you get home.' 

'The little bugger,' Nick said. 

'Do you know what a bugger is?' his father asked him. 

'We call anything a bugger,' Nick said. 

*A bugger is a man who has intercourse with animals.' 

'Why?' Nick said. 

'I don't know,' his father said. 'But it is a heinous crime.* 
- Nick's imagination was both stirred and horrified by this 
and he thought of various animals but none seemed attractive 
or practical anJ that was the sum total of direct sexual know- 
le<Jge bequeathed him by his father except on one other 


subject. One morning he read in the paper that Enrico 
Caruso had been arrested for mashing. 

'What is mashing?' 

'It is one of the most heinous of crimes, 5 his father an- 
swered. Nick's imagination pictured the great tenor doing 
something strange, bizarre, and heinous with a potato 
masher to a beautiful lady who looked like the pictures of 
Anna Held on the inside of cigar boxes. He resolved, with 
considerable horror, that when he was old enough he would 
try mashing at least once. 

His father had summed up the whole matter by stating 
that masturbation produced blindness, insanity, and death, 
while a man who went with prostitutes would contract 
hideous venereal diseases and that the thing to do was to 
keep your hands off of people. On the other hand his father 
had the finest pair of eyes he had ever seen and Nick had 
loved him very much and for a long time. Now, knowing 
how it had all been, even remembering the earliest times 
before things had gone badly was not good remembering. 
If he wrote it he could get rid of it. He had gotten rid of 
many things by writing them. But it was still too early for 
that. There were still too many people. So he decided to 
think of something else. There was nothing to do about his 
father and he had thought it all through many times. The 
handsome job the undertaker had done on his father's face 
had not blurred in his mind and all the rest of it was quite 
clear, including the responsibilities. He had complimented 
the undertaker. The undertaker had not been both proud 
and smugly pleased. But it was not the undertaker that had 
given him that last face. The undertaker had only made 
certain dashingly executed repairs of doubtful artistic merit. 
The face had been making itself and being made for a long 
time. It had modelled fast in the last three years. It was 
a good story but there were still too many people alive for 
him to write it. a * 

Nick's own education in those earlier matters had been ac- 


quired in the hemlock woods behind the Indian camp. This 
was reached by a trail which ran from the cottage through the 
woods to the farm and then by a road which wound through 
the slashings to the camp. Now if he could feel all of that 
trail with bare feet. First there was the pine-needle loam 
through the hemlock woods behind the cottage where the 
fallen logs crumbled into wood dust and long splintered 
pieces of wood hung like javelins in the tree that had been 
struck by lightning. You crossed the creek on a log and if 
you stepped off there was the black muck of the swamp. You 
climbed a fence out of the woods and the trail was hard in the 
sun across the field with cropped grass and sheep sorrel and 
mullen growing and to the left the quaky bog of the creek 
bottom where the killdeer plover fed. The spring house was 
in that creek. Below the barn there was fresh warm manure 
and the other older manure that was caked dry on top. Then 
there was another fence and the hard, hot trail from the 
barn to the house and the hot sandy road that ran down to 
the woods, crossing the creek, on a bridge this time, where 
the cat-tails grew that you soaked in kerosene to make jack- 
lights with for spearing fish at night. 

Then the main road went off to the left, skirting the woods 
and climbing the hill, while you went into the woods on the 
wide clay and shale road, cool under the trees, and broad- 
ened for them to skid out the hemlock bark the Indians cut. 
The hemlock bark was piled in long rows of stacks, roofed 
over with more bark, like houses, and the peeled logs lay huge 
and yellow where the trees had been felled. They left the logs 
in the woods to rot, they did not even clear away or burn the 
tops. It was only the bark they wanted for the tannery at 
Boyne City; hauling it across the lake on the ice in winter, 
and each year there was less forest and more open, hot, shade- 
less, weed-grown slashing. 

But there was still much forest then, virgin forest where the 
trees grew high before there were any branches and you 
walked on the brown, clean, springy-needled ground with no 


undergrowth and it was cool on the hottest days and they three 
lay against the trunk of a hemlock wider than two beds are 
long, with the breeze high in the tops and the cool light that 
came in patches, and Billy said: 

'You want Trudy again?' 

'You want to?' 

'Uh Huh.' 

'Come on.' 

'No, here. 5 

'But Billy- 3 

'I no mind Billy. He my brother.' 

Then afterwards they sat, the three of them, listening for 
a black squirrel that was in the top branches where they 
could not see him. They were waiting for him to bark again 
because when he barked he would jerk his tail and Nick 
would shoot where he saw any movement. His father gave 
him only three cartridges a day to hunt with and he had 
a single-barrel twenty-gauge shotgun with a very long 

'Son of a bitch never move,' Billy said. 

'You shoot, Nickie. Scare him. We see him jump. Shoot 
him again,' Trudy said. It was a long speech for her. 

'I've only got two shells,' Nick said. 

'Son of a bitch,' said Billy. 

They sat against the tree and were quiet Nick was feeling 
hollow and happy. 

'Eddie says he going to come some night sleep in bed with 
you sister Dorothy.' 


'He said.' 

Trudy nodded. 

'That's all he want do,' she said. Eddie was their older 
half-brother. He was seventeen. 

'If Eddie Gilby ever comes at night and even speaks to 
Dorothy you know what I'd do to him? I'd kill him like 



this.' Nick cocked the gun and hardly taking aim pulled 
the trigger, blowing a hole as big as your hand in the head 
or belly of that half-breed bastard Eddie Gilby. 'Like that. 
I'd kill him like that.' 

'He better not come then, 5 Trudy said. She put her hand 
in Nick's pocket. 

'He better watch out plenty,' said Billy. 

'He's big bluff,' Trudy was exploring with her hand in 
Nick's pocket. 'But don't you kill him. You get plenty 

Td kill him like that,' Nick said. Eddie Gilby lay on the 
ground with all his chest shot away. Nick put his foot on him 

Td scalp him,' he said happily. 

'No,' said Trudy. 'That's dirty.' 

Td scalp him and send it to his mother.' 

'His mother dead,' Trudy said. 'Don't you kill him, 
Nickie. Don't you kill him for me.' 

'After I scalped him I'd throw him to the dogs.' 

Billy was very depressed. 'He better watch out,' he said 

'They'd tear him to pieces,' Nick said, pleased with the pic- 
ture. Then, having scalped that half-breed renegade and 
standing, watching the dogs tear him, his face unchanging, 
he fell backward against the tree, held tight around the neck, 
Trudy holding, choking him, and crying, 'No kill him! No 
kill him! No kill him! No. No. No. Nickie. Nickie, 

'What's the matter with you?' 

'No kill him.' 

'I got to kill him.' 

'He just a big bluff.' 

'All right,' Nickie said. 'I won't kill him unless he comes 
around the house. Let go of me.' 

'That's gooa,' Trudy s*\id, 'You want to do anything now? 
I feel good now,' 


'If Billy goes away/ Nick had killed Eddie Gilby, then 
pardoned him his life, and he was a man now. 

'You go, Billy. You hang around all the time. Go on.' 

'Son a bitch, 5 Billy said. 'I get tired this. What we come? 
Hunt or what? 5 

'You can take the gun. There 5 s one shell. 5 

'All right. I get a big black one all right/ 

'I'll holler,' Nick said. 

Then, later, it was a long time after and Billy was still 

'You think we make a baby?' Trudy folded her brown legs 
together happily and rubbed against him. Something 
inside Nick had gone a long way away. 

'I don't think so,' he said. 

'Make plenty baby what the hell.' 

They heard Billy shoot. 

'I wonder if he got one. 5 

'Don't care,' said Trudy. 

Billy came through the trees. He had the gun over his 
shoulder and he held a black squirrel by the front paws. 

'Look,' he said. 'Bigger than a cat. You all through?' 

' Where 5 d you get him? 5 

'Over there. Saw him jump first. 5 

'Got to go home,' Nick said. 

'No,' said Trudy. 

'I got to get there for supper.' 

'All right.' 

'Want to hunt to-morrow?' 

'All right.' 

'You can have the squirrel.' 

'All right/ 

'Gome out after supper? 5 


'How you feel?' 



'All right.' 

'Give me kiss on the face,' said Trudy. 
Now, as he rode along the highway in the car and it was 
getting dark, Nick was all through thinking about his father. 
The end of the day never made him think of him. The end 
of the day had always belonged to Nick alone and he never 
felt right unless he was alone at it. His father came back to 
him in the fall of the year, or in the early spring when there 
had been jacksnipe on the prairie, or when he saw shocks of 
corn, or when he saw a lake, or if he ever saw a horse and 
buggy, or when he saw, or heard, wild geese, or in a duck 
blind; remembering the time an eagle dropped through the 
whirling snow to strike a canvas-covered decoy, rising, his 
wings beating, the talons caught in the canvas. His father 
was with him, suddenly, in deserted orchards and in new- 
ploughed fields, in thickets, on small hills, or when .going 
through dead grass, * whenever splitting wood or hauling 
water, by grist mills, cider mills and dams and always with 
open fires. The towns he lived in were not towns his father 
knew. After he was fifteen he had shared nothing with him. 
His father had frost in his beard in cold weather and in hot 
weather he sweated very much. He liked to work in the sun 
on the farm because he did not have to and he loved manual 
work, which Nick did not. Nick loved his father but hated 
the smell of him and once when he had to wear a suit of his 
father's underwear that had gotten too small for his father it 
made him feel sick and he took it off and put it under two 
stones in the creek and said that he had lost it. He had told 
his father how it was when his father had made him put it on 
but his father had said it was freshly washed. It had been, 
too. When Nick had asked him to smell of it his father 
sniffed at it indignantly and said that it was clean and fresh. 
When Nick came home from fishing without it and said he 
lost it he was whipped for lying. 

Afterwards he had sat inside the woodshed with the door 
open, his shotgun loaded and cocked, looking across at his 


fcther sitting on the screen porch reading the paper, and 
thought, 'I can blow him to hell. I can kill him.' Finally he 
felt his anger go out of him and he felt a little sick about it 
being the gun that his father had given him. Then he had 
gone to the Indian camp, walking there in the dark, to get rid 
of the smell. There was only one person in his family that he 
liked the smell of; one sister. All the others he avoided all 
contact with. That sense blunted when he started to smoke. 
It was a good thing. It was good for a bird dog but it did not 
help a man. 

'What was it like, Papa, when you were a little boy and 
used to hunt with the Indians?' 

'I don't know,' Nick was startled. He had not even noticed 
the boy was awake. He looked at him sitting beside him on 
the seat. He had felt quite alone but this boy had been with 
him. He wondered for how long. 'We used to go all day to 
hunt black squirrels/ he said. 'My father only gave me 
three shells a day because he said that would teach me 
to hunt and it wasn't good for a boy to go banging around. 
I went with a boy named Billy Gilby and his sister Trudy. 
We used to go out nearly every day all one summer.' 

'Those are funny names for Indians.' 

'Yes, aren't they,' Nick said. 

'But tell me what they were like.' 

'They were Ojibways,' Nick said. 'And they were very 

'But what were they like to be with?' 

'It's hard to say,' Nick Adams said. Could you say she did 
first what no one has ever done better and mention plump 
brown legs, flat belly, hard little breasts, well holding arms, 
quick searching tongue, the flat eyes, the good taste of mouth, 
then uncomfortably, tightly, sweetly, moistly, lovely, tightly, 
achingly, fully, finally, unendingly, never-endingly, never-to- 
endingly, suddenly ended, the great bird flown like an owl in 
the twilight, only in daylight in tfe woods and hemlock 
needles stuck against your belly. So that when you go in a 


place where Indians have lived you smell them gone and ?\\ 
the empty pain killer bottles and the flies that buzz do not kill 
the sweetgrass smell, the smoke smell and that other like a 
fresh cased marten skin. Nor any jokes about them nor old 
squaws take that away. Nor the sick sweet smell they get to 
have. Nor what they did finally. It wasn't how they ended. 
They all ended the same. Long time ago good. Now no 

And about the other. When you have shot one bird flying 
you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they 
fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the 
last one is as good as the first. He could thank his father for 

'You might not like them/ Nick said to the boy. 'But I 
think you would.' 

'And my grandfather lived with them too when he was a 
boy, didn't he?' 

'Yes. When I asked him what they were like he said that 
he had many friends among them.' 

'Will I ever live with them?' 

'I don't know,' Nick said. 'That's up to you.' 

'How old will I be when I get a shotgun and can hunt by 

'Twelve years old if I see you are careful.' 

'I wish I was twelve now.' 

'You will be, soon enough.' 

'What was my grandfather like? I can't remember him 
except that he gave me an air rifle and an American flag 
when I came over from France that time. What was he like?' 

'He's hard to describe. He was a great hunter and fisher- 
man and he had wonderful eyes.' 

'Was he greater than you?' 

'He was a much better shot and his father was a great wing 
shot too.' 

Til be* he wasn't be.ter than you. 5 

'Oh, yes he was. He shot very quickly and beautifully. I'd 


rather see him shoot than any man I ever knew. He was 
always very disappointed in the way I shot.' 

'Why do we never go to pray at the tomb of my grand- 

'We live in a different part of the country. It's a long way 
from here.' 

'In France that wouldn't make any difference. In France 
we'd go. I think I ought to go to pray at the tomb of my 

'Some time we'll go.' 

'I hope we won't live somewhere so that I can never go to 
pray at your tomb when you are dead.' 

'We'll have to arrange it.' 

'Don't you think we might all be buried at a convenient 
place? We could all be buried in France. That would be 

'I don't want to be buried in France,' Nick said. 

'Well, then, we'll have to get some convenient place in 
America. Couldn't we all be buried out at the ranch?' 

'That's an idea.' 

'Then I could stop and pray at the tomb of my grand- 
father on the way to the ranch.' 

'You're awfully practical.' 

'Well, I don't feel good never to have even visited the tomb 
of my grandfather.' 

'We'll have to go/ Nick said. 'I can see we'll have to go/